This weekend we celebrate the 175th anniversary of the establishment of the Catholic Diocese of Melbourne! It truly is a momentous occasion in the life of our local Church; a profound opportunity to reflect upon the extraordinary graces God has blessed us with.
It's a little known fact that the Catholic Diocese of Melbourne shares its birthday with the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, and so to mark this 175th year, a specially-commissioned "Melbourne Mass setting" will be launched at both cathedrals this Sunday, 26 June. The Mass setting features new music composed by members of the Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Irish, Croatian, Tongan, Vietnamese and Filipino communities of Melbourne, who will be on hand to perform at the 11am Mass at St Patrick's Cathedral. All are welcome to attend and stay on for the special family festival afterward, coinciding with the conclusion of the World Meeting of Families.
Continuing our Moments of Grace series, this week we take a look at the story of the Vienna Mozart Boys’ Choir, who became stranded in Australia just as the Second World War broke out in Europe. Unable to journey home, the boys ended up staying in Melbourne, thanks to the hospitality of Archbishop Daniel Mannix and local Melbourne families. The boys became the founding members of the St Patrick’s Cathedral Choir, which has continued, in one form or another, to this day!
Since this week is Refugee Week, we also hear the harrowing story of Maria Vong, a member of the Cambodian Catholic community here in Melbourne, who survived, with her family, the purges of Pol Pot and escaped to find a new life in Australia. It is a story of grace amidst persecution, and an opportunity to hear the stories of those who have escaped violence, as Pope Francis encourages us to.
Also, did you know that one of the early Christians lives here in Melbourne? Even though the first century of the Church is so remote from the present moment, the bones of St Flavia, virgin and martyr, sit quietly among us. And finally, this week we marked the feast day of both St Thomas More and St John Fisher. We revisit the famous 1966 film, A Man for all Seasons, to see what this story might offer the modern world. The answer: quite a bit.