In his Christmas message for 2022, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli invites us to stand ‘barefoot’ with Jesus, whose bare soles touched the earth when he came to live as one of us. As we approach Christmas Day, and the new year that lies beyond it, he encourages us to remove our ‘shoes’ and ‘to feel the sacred ground of our lives with God.’

This week we offer a number of stories that might help us to reflect on this ‘sacred ground’, and on how we might encounter our incarnational God in every part and stage of our lives.

Young people have a special role to play in the life of the Church as it seeks the new life heralded by the coming of Jesus into our world. So this week’s news that the Archdiocese of Melbourne will be hosting the Australian Catholic Youth Festival in December 2024 is particularly exciting. As Archbishop Comensoli said, ‘ACYF is a great opportunity for our young Church. It is a real invitation for pilgrims to enter more deeply into their relationship with Jesus and be empowered to be disciples in the world today.’

Of course, those who have been persevering in the life of faith for many years also have a special role to play, and last week the retired priests who live together at Justin Villa and George Maher House gathered for Mass and festive Christmas lunches with the Archbishop. It was an opportunity to honour and celebrate a ‘family’ of faithful men who continue quietly and prayerfully to live out their vocations.

Christmas is a time when we are especially conscious of the gift of our families, in all their beautiful complexity. Lucy Davison reflects on a very particular family Christmas in 1981, and on what it taught her about the meaning of Christmas.

This Sunday afternoon, St Patrick’s Cathedral will host ‘A Christmas Celebration’, a family concert of modern and traditional Christmas favourites. In preparation for this special event, we take a look at the fascinating stories behind some of our most beloved carols.

Please note that next week’s e-newsletter will be the last for 2022. We will be taking a break over January and will return in February with more stories and opportunities to encourage and inspire us as we seek to stand on the 'sacred ground' of life with Jesus.

Patrick Oration 2023
Written by: Archbishop Peter A Comensoli
On Friday 17 March, Archbishop Comensoli delivered the fourth annual Patrick Oration at the Catholic Leadership Centre, where he drew our attention to the vital role and central place of young people in our Church. Pointing to ‘the eternal youthfulness’ of Christ, he reminded us that each one of us is the ‘now of God’ and invited us to ‘rediscover’ the young Church we are all called to be.
Continue reading: Patrick Oration 2023
Archdiocese of Melbourne to host 2024 Youth Festival
Written by: Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC)
The Australian Catholic Youth Festival is coming back—and the countdown is on to the next event in two years’ time. After a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the premier gathering of young Catholics in Australia will return in December 2024, and the Archdiocese of Melbourne has been named host.
Celebrating Christmas at George Maher House and Justin Villa
On Tuesday 6 and Wednesday 7 December, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli visited the retired priests who live at George Maher House in Clifton Hill and at Justin Villa in North Balwyn to celebrate Mass and share a festive Christmas lunch with them. The priests who live in these homes become part of a family, living out their vocations together in the knowledge that they are ‘priests forever’.
A very particular Christmas
Written by: Lucy Davison
In 1981, Lucy Davison's parents did the unthinkable. They announced that the family would be holidaying in Queensland over Christmas. Outraged though she was, Christmas 1981 showed her that there was something about Christmas—and about being part of a family—that she had perhaps been missing.
Continue reading: A very particular Christmas
‘O hear the angel voices’: the stories behind some of our favourite carols
In the lead-up to the 'Christmas Celebration’ concert at St Patrick’s Cathedral this Sunday, we delve into the history of some of our most beloved Christmas carols. From favourites ‘Silent night’ and ‘O Holy Night’ to ‘Good King Wenceslas’, we explore the stories and legends behind some of our favourite carols, shedding new light on these familiar songs.
‘Might we come before him “barefoot” in our frailties, yet alive in the wonder of our humanity—made in his image—ready and willing to live as the people of God he has created us to be?’
Archbishop Peter A Comensoli
On standing barefoot with Jesus
Upcoming events
Cathedral concert: ‘A Christmas Celebration’
Sunday 18 December 2022
3.00pm–4.30pm
Join us as we celebrate the spirit of Christmas with carols across space and time, including an Acknowledgement of Country through music. A family concert of traditional and modern Christmas favourites, featuring Brass, organ and choir in the beautiful and inspiring space of St Patrick’s Cathedral. Performance will include audience...
Christmas Eve Masses, St Patrick’s Cathedral
Saturday 24 December 2022
6.00pm–1.00am
We look forward to welcoming the community to St Patrick's Cathedral to celebrate the great feast of Christmas! Christmas Eve Masses (24 December) will take place at 6pm, 8pm and 11.30pm* (carols followed by Midnight Mass). On Christmas Day (25 December), Masses will take place at 8am, 9.30am and 11am*...
Christmas Day Masses, St Patrick’s Cathedral
Sunday 25 December 2022
8.00am–12.00pm
We look forward to welcoming the community to St Patrick's Cathedral to celebrate the great feast of Christmas! On Christmas Day (25 December), Masses will be celebrated at 8am, 9.30am and 11am. The 11am Mass will be livestreamed to the Archdiocesan YouTube Channel. For all enquiries, email communication@cam.org.au.
‘The Australian Nativity Scene’, St Elizabeth’s Parish
Monday 5 December 2022
– Friday 13 January 2023
St Elizabeth’s Parish invites you to visit its Australian nativity scene on its 19th year of display. The nativity scene was created by artist Wilson Fernandez, and it has been regarded as one of Australia's most traditional nativity scenes and the largest of its kind in the country. The nativity...
Good Shepherd Church: feast of the Infant Jesus of Prague
Sunday 15 January 2023
1.40pm–2.40pm
Join the Good Shepherd Church and the Disciples of the Infant Jesus of Prague in the 20th celebration of the feast of the holy and miraculous Infant Jesus of Prague. There will be Mass, Rosary and special prayers consisting of novenas and chaplets. After Mass, a procession will carry the...

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

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