From death to life
Back to God with all our hearts

Our Lenten journey has begun. The ash daubed on our foreheads last Wednesday was a poignant reminder that each of us is dust, and that something must die before it can be resurrected—an idea that finds its ultimate expression at Easter and in the waters of baptism.

Many of this week’s stories show how, in the life of faith, we are often called to let go of one life so that a new one can be born. On Sunday, for instance, catechumens and candidates from more than 60 parishes gathered at St Patrick’s Cathedral for the Rite of Election, an important step on their journey to receive the sacraments of initiation at Easter, and to a new life in the Church.

We also share the wonderful news that eight new seminarians have recently joined Corpus Christi College—the largest single intake since 2017—and hear from two of them about the lives they have left to follow God’s call to a new life in the priesthood.

And we hear from Czech theologian Mgr Prof Tomáš Halík, who recently shared with us the remarkable story of his clandestine life as a priest under the former communist regime in his home country, some insights from his thriving ministry among young people and ‘seekers’ in Prague, and his (very Lenten) conviction that for the Church to be resurrected and transformed, first something must die.

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.

In a year, and a season, when we are called to deepen our commitment to prayer, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli invites us—in his video message for February—to journey back to God using the prayer Jesus taught us, the Our Father, which encourages us both to praise God and to depend on him for everything we need: love, forgiveness, protection, even our ‘daily bread’.

There is an intimate connection between our prayers and our actions, as we saw in the encouraging response to the Archdiocese’s recent Advent Appeal, where parishes raised $150,000 for the people of Ukraine.

The Church continues to play a vital role in serving society’s most vulnerable and has a valuable part to play in the wider social services sector, according to public policy expert Prof Mark Considine, who spoke at the recent Catholic Social Services National Conference.

Also this week: We hear about the most recent Encounter event, where young people came together in prayer and adoration to draw closer to Jesus. The upcoming ‘Mercy Melbourne’ night (19 March) similarly promises to bring more than 40 parishes across the city together in a powerful night of prayer, bearing witness to God’s forgiveness through the sacrament of Reconciliation. We also recall the story of how seminarians at Corpus Christi College were moved, in the years after the Second World War, to reach out to brother seminarians in Cologne, Germany, in their hour of need. And we find inspiration for our Lenten prayer journey in a Carthusian’s short letter on the vastness of God’s love.

For more news and events, visit the Melbourne Catholic news and stories page, our events calendar or follow us on Facebook.

Be patient, but ready to act: Melbourne welcomes eight new seminarians
Corpus Christi College, the regional seminary for Victoria and Tasmania, is now home to eight new seminarians, the largest single intake since 2017. With the academic year soon to begin, the seminarians officially moved in last weekend and were warmly welcomed by the community. We recently spoke with two of the first-year seminarians—Luke Kennedy and Mathews Noble—about how and why, through patience, perseverance and prayer, they’ve decided to say ‘yes’ and follow God’s calling.
‘You are not alone in faith’ Archbishop Comensoli tells crowd at Rite of Election
Almost 1,000 gathered on Sunday 18 February at St Patrick’s Cathedral for the annual Rite of Election. The event is a significant step for those participating in the Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA) and preparing to receive the sacraments of initiation at Easter. ‘Just have a look around you,’ said Archbishop Peter A Comensoli as he welcomed the catechumens and candidates from more than 60 parishes from across the Archdiocese. ‘You are not alone. In faith, you are not alone.’
A heart for seekers: Mgr Tomáš Halík on the urgent mission of the Church today
Prominent Czech theologian Mgr Prof Tomáš Halík recently visited Melbourne as part of an Australian lecture tour. Ordained a priest in secret during the Soviet occupation of his country, Mgr Halík shares with us his heart for seekers and how his work to open up space for conversation may offer an example for the future of the Church.
Graeme and Lynne Simpson, on the gift of marriage
Lynne and Graeme Simpson have been married for 62 years, and for 47 of those years, they have been active members of Worldwide Marriage Encounter, a Catholic movement affirming and strengthening marriage and Holy Orders in the Church and in the world. As Worldwide Marriage Encounter celebrates its 50th anniversary in Australia, Lynne and Graeme share how their long involvement in the movement has laid the foundation for a rich, deep and rewarding life together.
Geelong basilica playing its way towards Easter
All year round, St Mary of the Angels Basilica in Geelong is host to a variety of musical events. For Lent 2024, a series of free weekly musical ‘presentations’ is taking place every Sunday at 5–5.30pm, featuring different types of reflective music as we journey towards Easter. Jane de Rossa, one of the organisers, tells us how these musical events provide an inviting space for seekers.
The Synod on Synodality: where are we now?
Written by: Proclaim: Office for Mission Renewal
For the past two years, as part of the 16th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, Pope Francis has asked the global Church to reflect on the theme ‘For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission’. As we journey towards the second session of the synod in October 2024, the local churches are again being invited to carry out further consultation, as set out in the document Towards October 2024.
Newly graduated teachers gather for commissioning Mass
More than 300 teachers and school staff gathered at St Patrick’s Cathedral on Tuesday 20 February for the official commissioning Mass for newly graduated teachers. Organised by Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools, the annual Mass is an opportunity to bless the new graduates as they embark on their first school year as teachers.
‘We are on the crossroad. We can just close our heart, our brain, and create a ghetto or some ‘contra-culture’ in the world … or go through this deep transformation and accept something must die also in the Church. Only after the death is a resurrection. And then we must be open to seek the resurrected, transformed Christ, and to offer the transformed Christianity.’
Czech theologian Mgr Tomáš Halík
on death and resurrection in the process of Church renewal
Upcoming events
Public forum: The journey with a restorative approach to infertility
Saturday 24 February 2024
9.00am–10.00am
As part of their 2024 conference, the Australian Institute for Restorative Reproductive Medicine (AIRRM) is offering a free public forum that aims to shed light on the challenges of infertility and the hope and positive outcomes that can come with a restorative approach to health and fertility. Hear the story...
Encounter evening
Sunday 25 February 2024
4.30pm–7.30pm
This unforgettable evening is tailor-made for high-school students, offering a unique opportunity to encounter Jesus with prayer, fellowship, food and, of course, a whole lot of fun. Invite a friend along to our Encounter evening! It’s an invitation to share the joy, the love and the transformative power of faith...
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...
Holy Trinity Parish presents: A Lenten retreat with Fr Glenn Morris OP
Saturday 2 March 2024
10.00am–4.00pm
Hosted by Holy Trinity Parish (Bentleigh East, Bentleigh and Moorabbin), this Lenten retreat offers an opportunity for spiritual growth and personal reflection. Led by Fr Glenn Morris OP (prior of the Angelicum convent in Rome), the day will include talks, prayer, Stations of the Cross, personal reflection, exposition of the...
‘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...
‘Poets and the Faith: Gerard Manley Hopkins’, presented by Prof Dorothy Lee
Tuesday 12 March 2024
6.00pm–7.30pm
St Peter's Eastern Hill is hosting a series of talks about significant poets who have inhabited—or skirted the fringes—of the Anglican and Catholic traditions of Christianity.From Gerard Manley Hopkins to RS Thomas, from Emily Brontë to WH Auden, how did their poetry enrich and challenge their understanding of the faith...
Celebrating 50 years of Worldwide Marriage Encounter in Australia: ‘Love and respect’ formation day
Saturday 16 March 2024
8.30am–5.15pm
A special formation day is being offered to mark the 50th anniversary of the Worldwide Marriage Encounter (WWME) in Australia. WWME is a weekend away offering married couples a special kind of ‘time out’—a different kind of ‘weekend getaway’. Based on Catholic values, the ministry started in Spain in the...
Catholic Education Week 2024
Sunday 10 March 2024
– Sunday 17 March 2024
Catholic Education Week is an opportunity for all Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Melbourne to celebrate their Catholic identity, the pivotal role they play within their local community and the strength of the sector. The theme for Catholic Education Week 2024 is ‘In the light of Christ’. Drawn from...
The Patrick Oration 2024
Monday 18 March 2024
7.30pm–8.30pm
Join us on the feast day of St Patrick, the patron saint of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, for the fifth annual Patrick Oration to be delivered by the Most Rev Peter A Comensoli, Archbishop of Melbourne. Watch the live broadcast on TV or online: On TV via C31 (digital...

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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