As the war in Ukraine goes on, one the very few things within our power – other than financial giving – is prayer. This Friday, 25 March, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli will join Pope Francis in consecrating Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, honouring a direct request from the Ukrainian bishops. It will take place at the 7am Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral. The Vatican has also released the official text for the Prayer of Consecration which parishes are encouraged to pray locally.

If you are wondering about the meaning, purpose, and history behind such a consecration (and there are a few rabbit holes there), here's a brief rundown of the situation, and why the Ukrainian bishops have made the request.

In Melbourne, people have been engaging in prayer processions of their own! On Sunday 20 March more than a thousand people gathered at St Patrick’s for a “Walk with Mary”, praying for world peace. Also last Sunday, Holy Eucharist Parish, St Albans South, celebrated its 50th anniversary, with a beautiful display of the parish's history and multicultural heritage.

In the wake of the Djokovic affair, media attention was drawn to the asylum seekers who had been held indefinitely in detention at the Park Hotel in Carlton for more than nine years. Fiona Basile shares how a personal encounter with a young woman from Sydney, led her to the men – fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, husbands – being detained in the Park Hotel and to a deeper understanding of their lives and journey, and ultimately, to compassion and action.

Since Pope Francis has stunned the world with some sweeping reforms of the Roman Curia, we take a look at just some of the changes taking place under the new Apostolic Constitution, ‘Praedicate Evangelium’.

The funeral of Victorian Senator Kimberley Kitching was held at St Patrick’s Cathedral earlier this week, bringing together various members of the diplomatic corps and politicians from both sides of the divide. Archbishop Comensoli reflected on the faith of Ms Kitching and how St Patrick’s was her ‘faith home’.

Finally, if you’re starting to feel a bit spiritually flat halfway through Lent, don’t worry. We all feel that way at some point. We take a look at another key to making it through the season of penance.

Archbishop Comensoli to join Pope Francis in consecrating Ukraine, Russia
On Friday 25 March, the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, Pope Francis will consecrate Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Archbishop Peter A Comensoli will join him in making this act of consecration at Friday's 7am Mass at St Patrick's Cathedral.
Cathedral overflows for Walk with Mary 2022
More than a thousand people filled St Patrick's Cathedral on Sunday 20 March for a special afternoon of prayer, the Rosary, Mass and a street procession, coming together to seek the intercession of our Our Lady for peace and unity in the world. It was the first time in three years that the “Walk with Mary” was able to take place, with people travelling from across the Archdiocese to take part. Bishop Tony Ireland led the Mass which concluded with a solemn entrustment of all present to Our Lady.
Pope Francis institutes sweeping reforms with 'Praedicate evangelium'
On Saturday 19 March, without prior announcement, Pope Francis released a new Apostolic Constitution: Praedicate evangelium, or “preach the Gospel”. It is 54 pages long and was released only in Italian. However, it is the result of nine years of work and it outlines a deep and thoroughgoing reform of the Roman Curia, something long-expected to come at the hands of Pope Francis.
Holy Eucharist St Albans South celebrates 50 years
For 50 years, Holy Eucharist Catholic Parish in St Albans South has been the spiritual home of many local families in the area. On Sunday 20 March, parishioners gathered to mark the parish's golden jubilee anniversary, beginning with Mass celebrated by Archbishop Peter A Comensoli followed by morning tea and entertainment provided by the parish's various multicultural groups and choirs.
Senator Kimberley Kitching farewelled at St Patrick’s Cathedral
Victorian Labor senator Kimberley Kitching was farewelled at a funeral service and Mass on Monday 21 March at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne. In attendance were family and friends of the late senator, as well as colleagues and constituents, and a number of state and federal politicians from both sides of politics, gathering to farewell the 52-year-old who died suddenly this month from a suspected heart attack.
They are ordinary people, like us: A personal reflection
On the evening of Friday 11 March, there was celebration and heartache as 13 men seeking asylum were released from detention having been held by the Australian government for more than nine years. In this story, Fiona Basile shares how a personal encounter with a young woman from Sydney, led her to the men – fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, husbands – being detained in the Park Hotel and to a deeper understanding of their lives and journey, and ultimately, to compassion and action.
The rabbit hole of Russian consecration
American journalist John Allen Jr has described Pope Francis' consecration of Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as ‘poking the Russian bear’. If you’re a bit confused by the pope's consecration, and why people have been requesting it so ardently, there’s a bit of history there (and controversy, too). Let's explore.
Another key to Lent: Expect the unexpected
It's easy to grow complacent during Lent. Maybe we forget that the spirituality of Lent is one of surrender. It's not simply about taking our imperfect nature and improving it; Lent is not a spiritual self-help program. It is more than that: it is a time in which we understand the depths of our rebellion and lay down our arms at the foot of the Cross, where Christ made a home for rebels everywhere.
‘The people of both Ukraine and Russia desperately need our spiritual work of mercy, and our union with them in prayer. May conversion of hearts and minds be foremost in our prayer...’
Archbishop Peter A Comensoli
On the consecration of Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Upcoming Events
Book sale @ CTC
Thursday 24 March 2022
9.00am–4.00pm
Catholic Theological College (CTC) is once again hosting its annual book sale at Mannix Library. The sale will run daily from 7 March until Easter. And, thanks to COVID lockdowns, there is a mountain of books for you to choose from! Prices from $2. Holy cards are free.
Consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Friday 25 March 2022
7.00am–8.00am
This Friday, on the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli will join Pope Francis and bishops around the world in consecrating Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Archbishop Comensoli will do so at the 7am Mass at St Patrick's Cathedral. All are...
Mary MacKillop Heritage Centre open days
Saturday 26 March 2022
10.00am–4.00pm
Mary MacKillop Heritage Centre (MMHC) East Melbourne a place of inspiration and vitality, manifests and promotes the spirit and charism of Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop and the Sisters of Saint Joseph. MMHC provides, through education, hospitality and charitable works, opportunities for all to experience and be challenged by...
Virtual Lent Series with Australian biblical scholars
Tuesday 1 March 2022
7.00pm–8.00pm
This Lent, Garratt Publishing is once again hosting a series of talks by four Australian biblical scholars from Yarra Theological Union, a College of the University of Divinity. Each week this group of accomplished guides will work together to explore the readings for the week. Guest speakers include: Prof Mary...
Information session for the Permanent Diaconate
Saturday 2 April 2022
10.00am–11.45am
Do you feel called to serve? The Permanent Diaconate is open to single and married men who want to serve God and the Church as ordained ministers. Come and see!
Lenten Retreat Day for Young Adults
Saturday 2 April 2022
9.00am–4.00pm
St Anthony's and St Bernard's are pleased to provide this day of prayer, friendship and formation for young adults (ages 16-25). We look forward to welcoming Rachel Brennan, Sr Mary Helen OP, and Toby Dinh as our presenters. Solemn Mass will be a feature of this retreat. The music for...
Lenten Retreat Day for Children
Saturday 2 April 2022
9.00am–10.00am
Children aged 15 and under are invited to a Lenten Retreat Day hosted by St Anthony of Padua Catholic Parish in Melton South and run by the Alliance of the Holy Family.
Lenten Retreat Day for Men
Saturday 2 April 2022
9.00am–4.00pm
St Anthony's and St Bernard's invite you to a day of prayer, fraternity and formation. We are pleased to welcome Dr Andy Mullins as our presenter for the men's retreat. Dr Andy Mullins is the author of Parenting for Character, and now of Parenting for Faith which will be released...
Lenten Retreat Day for Women
Saturday 2 April 2022
9.00am–4.00pm
St Anthony's and St Bernard's invite you to a day of prayer, friendship and formation. Guest speakers include Sr Rosie Drum MGL ("The Prodigal Son"), Dr Colin Patterson ("The Unjust Steward") and Anna Krohn ("The Ten Bridesmaids"). At this day we will reflect on the place of the Lord in...
Why We Need a Classical Renewal: Online Conference
Friday 8 April 2022, 9.00am
– Saturday 9 April 2022, 3.00pm
Nations and peoples throughout the world are increasingly anxious about their children’s education. They fear they will be left out of the job market, technology will outpace them, and they won’t get into the colleges and universities that provide a secure future. The more people embrace the latest theories, the...
2022 Walk for Justice and Freedom for Refugees
Sunday 10 April 2022
2.00pm–4.00pm
On Palm Sunday people from cities and towns around Australia will be holding rallies and vigils to call for justice for refugees, seeking the release of all refugees, an end to mandatory detention, the provision of permanent protection, family reunions, a safety net support in the community (i.e. access to...
God and Beer: Shakespeare and Catholicism
Monday 11 April 2022
6.30pm–8.00pm
The Knights of the Southern Cross (Dandenong North) invite you to 'the Nott' for a dose of inspiration, ideas and a hot meal. "God and Beer" draws on the truth, beauty and goodness of the Christian faith in the Catholic tradition. Presented by academic Angela Schumann, this talk will focus...
International Ignatian Ecospiritual Online Conference
Monday 25 April 2022, 5.30pm
– Saturday 30 April 2022, 5.30pm
In celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Conversion of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the International Ignatian Ecospiritual Conference in 2022 will seek to encourage a deeper “ecological conversion” through a contemplative immersion experience in Nature in different parts of the world that will lead to reconciliation with Creation. Central...
P.S. Before you go . . .
Films to talk about: Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Directed by Taika Waititi and staring Sam Neill and Julian Dennison, this is the story of a young, troubled New Zealander youth named Ricky Baker who is sent to live with an elderly couple on a remote farm.