‘Blessed art thou among women’

As we enter into the month of May—the ‘Month of Mary’—and as we prepare for Mother’s Day this Sunday, we might find ourselves reflecting and giving thanks for the ways our mothers, both spiritual and earthly, have guided and blessed us in our lives.

In his video message for May, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli continues to lead us through some of the treasures of our Catholic prayer tradition. This month, appropriately, he invites us to pray and reflect on that great prayer of praise and petition, the Hail Mary.

We hear how mothers, fathers, grandparents and carers have been meeting together every Tuesday with their preschool-age children for fun and friendship—and a growing sense of community—at Little Frannie’s playgroup, a joint initiative of St Francis Xavier Parish and Primary School in Box Hill.

Also this week, Australia’s bishops approve the Mass of the Land of the Holy Spirit, a liturgy incorporating elements of Aboriginal language and culture, for use in the Diocese of Broome in Western Australia. Melbourne priest Fr Jude Pirotta MSSP reminisces about the joys and challenges of 40 years of priestly ministry. Bishop Greg Bennet of Sale, well known to many Melbourne Catholics, is elected the new Vice-President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. The former director of the world-famous Notre Dame Folk Choir, who will give an online public lecture later this month, shares some thoughts on raising up liturgical musicians for the Church. And Caritas Australia celebrates its 60th anniversary with the launch of a new book of photo portraits.

Finally, at the end of this month, Melbourne’s Catholic communities are being invited to enter more deeply into the Year of Prayer by participating in the second annual Fiat weekend of prayer, culminating in a Eucharistic procession from Corpus Christi College in Carlton to St Patrick’s Cathedral to mark the solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ on Sunday 2 June.

A prayer of praise and petition: the Hail Mary
As we continue to journey through this Year of Prayer in preparation for the Jubilee Year, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli invites us to reflect on the great prayer of our Blessed Mother, the Hail Mary. It's especially timely in this month of May, traditionally known as the month of Mary.
Little Frannie’s playgroup, a blessing for all involved
Each Tuesday morning during the school term, the Friar’s Room of St Francis Xavier Parish in Box Hill is buzzing with activity. It is the location for Little Frannie’s, a playgroup based at the parish, run in partnership with the primary school, for babies to preschoolers and their parents, grandparents and care givers. Goody Muling, a learning support officer at St Francis Xavier Primary School and also the playgroup coordinator, shares why this playgroup has been so important for the St Francis Xavier parish, school and wider community.
Bishops approve Mass of the Land of the Holy Spirit
A motion has been passed at the plenary meeting of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference in Sydney approving the Mass of the Land of the Holy Spirit (Missa Terra Spiritus Sancti)—a liturgy that incorporates elements of Aboriginal language and culture—for use in the Diocese of Broome in Western Australia. With a history of use in the Diocese of Broome for over 50 years, the Mass will now be submitted to the Dicastery for Divine Worship at the Vatican for official recognition.
Fr Jude Pirotta MSSP, celebrating 40 years of priesthood
Fr Jude Pirotta MSSP recently celebrated 40 years of priesthood, being surprised by a special celebration at the Easter Vigil Mass at his parish of 19 years, St James the Apostle in Hoppers Crossing North. In a spirit of deep gratitude, Fr Jude shares his recollections of his life of faith and service, which was inspired by the love of his parents, and particularly the example of his remarkable mother.
Bishop Greg Bennet elected Vice-President of Australian Catholic Bishops Conference
The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) has a new vice-president after elections in Sydney. Bishop of Sale Greg Bennet will take on the role after Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher retired from the position at the end of the maximum three two-year terms. Archbishop of Perth, Timothy Costelloe, was re-elected president of the ACBC.
Melbourne to embark on a weekend of prayer, from 31 May to 2 June
For the second year running, churches across the Archdiocese of Melbourne will open their doors for a weekend of prayer from Friday 31 May (feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary) to Sunday 2 June (solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ). Dubbed Fiat—inspired by Mary’s ‘yes’ to the Lord—the weekend begins with an evening of prayer at St Augustine’s in the city and concludes with a Eucharistic procession from Carlton to St Patrick’s Cathedral.
Raising up liturgical musicians: famous choir director to give public lecture
Steven C Warner forged a successful sacred music career in the years following Vatican II, going on to found and direct the world-famous Notre Dame Folk Choir. With a strong conviction that the Church needs to support young people seeking a career in sacred music, the longtime choir director and composer will be delivering an online public lecture hosted by the ACU Centre for Liturgy later this month.
Caritas Australia launches book to celebrate 60 years of ‘compassion in action’
This year, Caritas Australia celebrates its 60th anniversary. As part of the celebrations, it is launching a limited-edition commemorative book, 60 Faces: Portraits of Compassion in Action, featuring stunning portraits of participants in programs across Australia and overseas. CaThe book is supported by a virtual exhibition, where supporters can vote for their favourite portrait and enter the draw to win an artwork from Djlipin Arts.
‘Mum was passionate about her faith, and she practised it ... I used to say, “Mum, you can’t keep doing this,” but she’d say, “We have to help those in need”—people who were struggling, people who were battling ... She demonstrated faith in action.’
Fr Jude Pirotta MSSP
on the example of his remarkable mum, mother to eleven and foster mother to eight
Upcoming events
Mother’s Day concert featuring Craig Everingham and Coady Green
Sunday 12 May 2024
4.00pm–5.00pm
Treat mum to an unforgettable Mother’s Day musical experience at St Patrick’s Cathedral, featuring Craig Everingham (baritone) and Coady Green (piano). Come for an enchanting evening of music, where soul-stirring melodies will fill the sacred time and space. Ticket holders can also enter a competition for a performance of your...
God and Beer: ‘The Bikie Priest’ with Fr Geoff McIlroy
Monday 13 May 2024
6.30pm–9.30pm
There’s a lot more to Rev Geoff McIlroy than a life of prayer and preaching. Sure, as the parish priest at St Macartan’s in Mornington, Fr Geoff spends a lot of his time doing God’s work, but when he does get some spare time, he often swaps his priestly vestments...
‘Religion and ethics: exploring some connections’ presented by Dr Frances Baker RSM
Tuesday 14 May 2024
7.00pm–8.30pm
Exploring some connections between religious belief and ethics, this session considers the implications of these for both personal and societal ethical decision making in the Australian context. Engaging Your Faith is a series of short, online, presentations that invite participants to reflect on what it means to be people of...
‘Incarnating transcendence in our secular age’ presented by Dr Paul Sharkey
Wednesday 15 May 2024
7.00pm–8.00pm
This session we will consider Charles Taylor, a philosopher whose cultural analysis helps those of us who want to understand why belief in God is more difficult today than it was 500 years ago. His analysis can be used as a foundation for breaking open the Gospel in a school...
Awaken: Pentecost 2024
Saturday 18 May 2024
1.00pm–6.00pm
Transformed by the presence of God A regional gathering for our Church, drawing close to the presence and power of God. Awaken gathers Catholics from around Melbourne for a dynamic and inspiring afternoon, including contemporary worship and prayer experiences, talks, workshops and hospitality. With special guests Sam Clear (Walk4One) and...
Fiat 2024—A Weekend of Prayer
Friday 31 May 2024, 6.00pm
– Sunday 2 June 2024, 1.00pm
For the second year running, our local communities of grace across the Archdiocese of Melbourne will unite for a weekend of prayer from Friday 31 May to Sunday 2 June 2024. The weekend coincides with the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the solemnity of the...
The Seeker of Souls: Understanding God’s intense search for you
Saturday 1 June 2024
9.00am–12.15pm
The Catholic Women’s League of Victoria and Wagga Wagga is hosting a women’s retreat with reflections by Fr Trevor Tibbertsma. The retreat is a great opportunity to meet a supportive community of women of faith and includes Mass, adoration, confession, an inspiring talk and a Q&A session. Morning tea will...
Melbourne Corpus Christi Procession
Sunday 2 June 2024
1.00pm–4.00pm
Join us on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) for Mass at Sacred Heart Church (Rathdowne and Pelham Streets, Carlton) followed by a Eucharistic procession to St Patrick’s Cathedral for Vespers and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. 1pm: Mass at Sacred Heart Church...

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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