A message of freedom

As we approach the beginning of Lent next week, and our minds turn not only to our own frailties but to the plight of all those who contend with illness and infirmity, we recall the freedom from despair that Jesus Christ promises each one of us.

Fittingly, this weekend we mark the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes and the World Day of the Sick. The Order of Malta—one of the oldest religious orders in the world, with a rich heritage of both serving the sick and defending the faith—will be gathering at St Patrick’s Cathedral for their annual Lourdes Day Mass. We take a look at the order’s origins and history, and hear from National Hospitaller John Murphy and his wife Tanya about how the order continues to serve in Australia and around the world today.

And as Ash Wednesday draws closer, Fr Michael Buck helps us reflect on how and why we might engage more deeply with this season. Speaking recently at the first Theology at the Pub event of the year, he gave some tips on how to enter more fruitfully into Lent by keeping our eyes on both our baptismal calling and the liberating good news at the heart of the paschal mystery.

You can find lots more stories below on what’s been happening in the Archdiocese of Melbourne and beyond, or you can visit the Melbourne Catholic news and stories page or follow us on Facebook. To connect with people and events across the Archdiocese, check out our events page for what’s coming up soon.

The poor are our masters: the Order of Malta
The Order of Malta is one of the oldest religious orders in the world. Having been in existence for about 974 years, they continue to draw on their inspiring origins to keep the spirit of Christian chivalry alive, serving the poor and sick as their true ‘lords and ladies’.
This Lent, don’t forget about Easter
At the first Theology at the Pub event of the new year, Fr Michael Buck, chaplain at the Melbourne campus of Australian Catholic University (ACU), reflected on the swiftly approaching season of Lent and how we might engage more fruitfully with it. He outlined some common temptations we face, and how to keep the season’s connection to Easter and to Baptism alive.
God’s message ‘is always one of freedom’: Pope Francis for Lent 2024
On Thursday 1 February, two weeks out from Ash Wednesday, Pope Francis released his annual message for the Lenten season, reflecting on the gift of Christian freedom and how the desert is a time for maturing in that gift. ‘When our God reveals himself, his message is always one of freedom,’ he said.
The transformative power of witnessing and accompanying
Written by: Jake Mudge
Late last year, the Australian Catholic Bishops released ‘To Witness and to Accompany with Christian Hope’, a document that assists priests, chaplains and pastoral workers to accompany those who might be considering euthanasia. Responding to the themes raised in this document, Rev Dr Jake Mudge reflects on the dual vocations of the sick and of those who accompany and care for them. Both have a role to play, he says, calling each other to a deeper realisation of God’s presence in every part of our lives.
The sick, and the world, need ‘therapy’ of love, Pope says
Written by: Cindy Wooden and Carol Glatz (CNS)
In his message for the 32nd World Day of the Sick, which we observe this Sunday, Pope Francis says that the ‘first therapy’ that must be offered to the sick, and to the world, is a dose of closeness, friendship and love. And in his recent prayer video, which focuses on his February prayer intention for the terminally ill, he reminds us that incurable doesn’t mean 'un-careable'.
‘Online pilgrimage’ for International Day against Human Trafficking
For those around the world wanting to join in prayer for the International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking, an online pilgrimage is being organised.
Waiting, not worldliness, leads to the Lord, Pope tells religious
Written by: Justin McLellan, with Cindy Wooden (CNS).
Candlelight filled a darkened St Peter’s Basilica on the feast of the Presentation of the Lord—which also marks the Catholic Church’s celebration of World Day for Consecrated Life. In his homily, Pope Francis asked consecrated men and women not to let their spirits ‘doze off’ while waiting to encounter the Lord but to keep their hearts awake in anticipation ‘like an eternal flame.’
Catholic and Anglican bishops vow to support one another and work together
Written by: Cindy Wooden (CNS)
Pairs of Catholic and Anglican bishops from 27 nations travelled to Rome from 22 to 25 January and to Canterbury, England, from 26 to 29 January for ‘Growing Together,’ a week-long summit for ecumenical discussion, prayer and pilgrimage, including a commissioning by Pope Francis and Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury.
‘Faith isn’t just about going to Mass and saying the prayers that we have to say and doing the things we have to do. It’s actually bigger. It’s a huge part of our lives; it is our life.’
John Murphy, National Hospitaller for the Order of Malta in Australia
on how serving with the Order of Malta has helped him and wife Tanya to deepen and broaden their faith
Upcoming events
Six30 Holy Hour at St Patrick’s Cathedral
Thursday 4 April 2024
6.30pm–7.30pm
Join with young Catholics from across the city for a time of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, music and an opportunity for confession. For more information, email udisciple@cam.org.au or call 9926 5677.
Order of Malta Lourdes Day Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral
Saturday 10 February 2024
10.30am–11.30am
The Order of Malta invites you to the annual Lourdes Day Mass—an opportunity to pray for the sick and infirm, particularly those who would not otherwise have the possibility of visiting Lourdes.The Mass will take place at St Patrick’s Cathedral, with Archbishop Peter A Comensoli as the principal celebrant. For...
‘The Most Holy Eucharist—Sacrifice, Presence and Banquet’: Legion of Mary 2024 Summer School
Saturday 10 February 2024, 9.15am
– Sunday 11 February 2024, 4.45pm
‘The Most Holy Eucharist—Sacrifice, Presence and Banquet’: Legion of Mary 2024 Summer School will take place at Magnificat House. The keynote speaker is Most Rev Columba Macbeth-Green OSPPE, Bishop of Wilcannia-Forbes. All welcome! Saturday schedule: 9.15 Registration 9.45 Welcome, opening Prayers of Tessera and Rosary 10.15 The Eucharist: Scripture, Tradition...
‘Encounters 2024: A voice, Lent to music’, St Mary of the Angels, Geelong
Sunday 3 March 2024
– Sunday 17 March 2024
Over five Sundays from 11 February to 17 March, St Mary of the Angels, Geelong, presents Encounters 2024: A voice, Lent to music. Join Frank De Rosso (organ) and associate artists in a journey of music and poetry, leading up to Easter. Sundays 5–5.30pm at the basilica: Sunday 11 February—Brighid...
Good and Beer: ‘Catholicism at the movies’
Monday 12 February 2024
6.30pm–8.30pm
Join God and Beer on their first event of the year! Jeremy Ambrose, pastoral associate for staff at Australian Catholic University’s Melbourne campus, will walk you through some of the great films where art and evangelisation have come together on the silver screen. Jeremy is passionate about the arts, especially...
Ash Wednesday at St Patrick’s Cathedral
Wednesday 14 February 2024
(All day event)
Join us at St Patrick’s Cathedral on 14 February to mark the beginning of Lent at one of three Ash Wednesday Masses: 7am 1pm 5.30pm For more information, email Communications or call the Cathedral on 9662 2233. Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
Searching for God in a secular age: a conversation with Monsignor Tomáš Halík
Thursday 15 February 2024
5.00pm–6.00pm
The next speaker at the Helder Camara lecture series—now in its 39th year—will be renowned public intellectual, philosopher, sociologist, best-selling author and 'underground priest' Monsignor Professor Tomáš Halík. Monsignor Halík converted to Catholicism as an adult and was secretly ordained a priest in 1978 during the communist rule of then-Czechoslovakia...
‘Graced Beyond Telling’ by Corrie van den Bosch: Book launch
Thursday 15 February 2024
7.00pm–8.00pm
Join the Missionary Sisters of Service for the official launch of Corrie van den Bosch new book, Graced Beyond Telling—A Soul’s Dark Journey. Published by Coventry Press, this book tells the story of Corrie’s growing up in life, in faith, and in self-discovery. It is a story of finding inner...
Cathedral grand organ recital featuring Thomas Heywood
Friday 16 February 2024
6.00pm–7.00pm
Internationally renowned Australian organ virtuoso Thomas Heywood returns to St Patrick’s Cathedral to open the 2024 Concert Series. In a thrilling program where ‘Beethoven meets the Dubois centenary’, Heywood plays his transcriptions of two famous Beethoven orchestral overtures to Egmont and Coriolan, as well as the rousing last movement of...
Australian Catholic Students Association leadership retreat
Friday 16 February 2024
– Sunday 18 February 2024
Leading Catholic young adults in 2024? Looking for faith-based strategies to engage your peers? Join the Australian Catholic Students Association (ACSA) leadership retreat to be held over three days from Friday 16 to Sunday 18 February. Come and be equipped to bring your peers to Christ through the Church. Bring...
Catholic Women’s League of Victoria and Wagga Wagga: Women’s retreat
Saturday 17 February 2024
10.00am–3.30pm
The Catholic Women’s League of Victoria and Wagga Wagga is hosting a retreat at Mary Help of Christians Church, Heathcote, on Saturday 17 February. The day will start with Holy Mass at 10am. The retreat includes two spiritual reflections by Fr Peter Ferwerda, and concludes at 3.15pm with the Divine...
Rite of Election 2024 at St Patrick’s Cathedral
Sunday 18 February 2024
3.00pm–4.00pm
The Rite of Election is a significant occasion in the life of our local church in Melbourne. It marks the beginning of our catechumens and candidates’ final preparations to receive the sacraments of initiation. Join Archbishop Peter A Comensoli and the Proclaim team at the Rite of Election for 2024...
Prayer for peace with the community of Sant’Egidio
Monday 19 February 2024
8.00pm–9.00pm
Join the Sant’Egidio communities around the world in praying for peace. The Community of Sant’Egidio is a Christian community born in a secondary school in the centre of Rome in 1968, right after the Second Vatican Council. Over the years, it has become a network of communities in more than...
Catholic Social Services National Conference, Melbourne
Wednesday 21 February 2024
– Friday 23 February 2024
All those who work, volunteer or have an interest in Catholic community services and social justice are invited to attend the Catholic Social Services National Conference 2024: Commons, Commonality, Common Good, which will be held at the Catholic Leadership Centre over three days from Friday 21 to Sunday 23 February...
Great Women of Faith: Portrait exhibition by Barbara Skorupa
Friday 1 March 2024, 9.00am
– Sunday 10 March 2024, 4.00pm
This unique exhibition in St Patrick's Cathedral will feature 24 beautiful portraits of extraordinary women of faith by Cologne-based artist Barbara Skorupa. The portraits have been selected from the artist's collection of more than 100 paintings of extraordinary women from different cultures and eras, including Australians St Mary of the...

To learn more about upcoming events and opportunities, visit the Melbourne Catholic events page.

This newsletter is published by the Communications Office
of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne.

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