A Church that witnesses to Jesus

All that we do and believe in the Church revolves around the person of Jesus—the one who both sends us out and graciously and mercifully brings us home.

Tonight, the Proclaim Gathering kicks off at the Catholic Leadership Centre and promises to be a time of deep encounter with Jesus and the mission he calls us to. Last Thursday, the Archdiocese welcomed Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States. Speaking at lunch to Catholic representatives and leaders about the Church's mission and identity, he called us to follow the example of Christ by honouring the dignity of every person in all we do.

We share an inspiring story from St Mary of the Assumption Parish in Keilor Downs, where about 70 people have recently been gathering every Thursday evening to deepen their understanding of the faith—and build community—by considering ‘the case for Jesus’.

Also this week, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli calls on people of goodwill to reject antisemitism. We learn a little about the 12 modern Christian martyrs who will be remembered next week at the Night of the Witnesses at St Patrick’s Cathedral for their courageous commitment to Christ. Fr Francis Denton reflects at the latest God and Beer event on art and beauty as a way to witness to Jesus, ‘he who is beauty himself’. And two Catholic organisations that witness to Christ every day in our city by serving the sick and marginalised gathered for special Masses: the St Vincent de Paul Society for their annual Thanksgiving Mass at St Francis’ Church in Melbourne, and Cabrini Health, to celebrate the feast day of the ‘formidable’ St Frances Xavier Cabrini.

Finally, don’t forget to keep our seminarians in your prayers as they prepare for their ordination on Saturday 25 November at 10am—three to the priesthood and one to the transitional diaconate. The Mass is open to all and will be livestreamed on our Archdiocesan YouTube Channel.

‘Every person matters’: Archbishop Gallagher on the Church’s mission and identity
On Thursday 9 November, as part of an Australian visit commemorating 50 years of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the Commonwealth of Australia, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States and International Organisations, visited Melbourne. As part of his visit, he spoke at a luncheon with leaders and representatives from Catholic schools, health, social services and welfare organisations, where he said it is essential that Catholic organisations remain ‘firmly grounded in our distinctive Catholic identity’, a rich tradition that shapes our mission and is ‘deeply rooted in the belief that every individual, as a child of God, deserves respect, dignity and justice’.
Martyrs, witnesses: the stories behind this year’s Night of the Witnesses
Every year at the Night of the Witnesses, the stories of 12 martyrs are highlighted for us to honour as we stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians everywhere. Who are this year’s witnesses? Here are some snapshots of their stories.
‘Knowledge and love’: parishioners in Keilor Downs consider ‘the case for Jesus’
Every Thursday evening for the past five weeks, a group of about 70 parishioners from St Mary of the Assumption Parish in Keilor Downs have been gathering to consider ‘the case for Jesus’. As part of an eight-week Bible study based on the book by the same name by Dr Brant Pitre, participants are learning things they never knew, strengthening bonds with other Christians, growing in confidence in talking about their faith and falling more deeply in love with God.
Archbishop Comensoli condemns the ‘explicit antisemitism in parts of Australian society’
On Saturday 11 November, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli issued a letter to ‘friends of good will’ expressing his concern for the growing tide of anti-Semitism in Australian society as the conflict in Israel and Gaza continues. The letter comes in the wake of violent clashes on the streets of Melbourne, and echoes calls from civic and religious leaders for an end to hate speech and a return to peaceful demonstrations.
Making ‘oases of beauty’: Fr Francis Denton talks art, beauty and culture
At his recent talk at ‘God and Beer’, Fr Francis Denton spoke about why art and beauty are so important to culture, and how they reflect our views on the dignity of the human person. He also encouraged artists not to hide their light under a bushel, but to dedicate themselves to a craft in order to ‘bring beauty into the world’.
Vinnies family gathers for annual Thanksgiving Mass
More than 100 candles were lit at St Francis’ Church in Melbourne on Tuesday 14 November, each representing members, volunteers, benefactors and staff of the St Vincent de Paul Society (Victoria) who passed away in the last 12 months. The Mass, which was celebrated by Bishop Anthony Ireland, is one of the society’s most important annual events, with hundreds of members from local conferences gathering with families of the deceased during this memorial month of November.
‘Formidable’: Cabrini Hospital Malvern celebrates St Frances Xavier Cabrini
On the feast day of St Frances Xavier Cabrini, staff at Cabrini Hospital gathered for Mass celebrated by Bishop Tony Ireland. Bishop Ireland encouraged them to go where God sends them, inspired by the ‘formidable’ legacy of the great Italian saint.
‘Our faith in action becomes a testament to the transformative power of the Gospel as we endeavour to renew our faith and actively live it out in a world that hungers for hope, love and justice.’
Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Vatican Secretary for Relations with States
speaking recently in Melbourne on the Church’s mission and identity
Upcoming events
Grand organ recital featuring Anthony Halliday, St Patrick’s Cathedral
Friday 17 November 2023
6.00pm–7.00pm
Fresh from a standing ovation for his performance of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony in Bonn, Germany, Dr Anthony Halliday returns to our magnificent Cathedral for an exciting program of Beethoven, Reger and Duruflé. Additionally, Anthony will present an extemporisation on three previously unseen musical themes. Halliday is invited annually to give...
Night of the Witnesses
Wednesday 22 November 2023
7.00pm–8.30pm
Night of the Witnesses is an evening of testimony, prayer, song, adoration and reflection to honour the witness of modern-day Christian martyrs and to stand in solidarity with Christians around the world who are suffering persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ. With its origins at Notre Dame and Sacre...
Ordinations to the Priesthood, St Patrick’s Cathedral
Saturday 25 November 2023
10.00am–11.30am
On Saturday 25 November, three deacons will be ordained to the priesthood: Rev Tien Van Tran, Rev Doan Ngoc (Peter) Nguyen and Rev Thomas William Christie. Jean-Sébastien Géry will be ordained to the transitional diaconate. Please pray for them as they embark on their priestly ministry in the service of...
Valedictory Mass
Sunday 26 November 2023
11.00am–1.30pm
As another academic year ends, so does the university journey for graduating students across Melbourne. Whether moving on to full-time work or further study, this annual Valedictory Mass is an opportunity to celebrate the wonderful achievements of graduating students. Join Archbishop Peter A Comensoli for Mass with a blessing of...
2023 Knox Public Lecture: ‘Truth and Peace—Timeless Twins’
Tuesday 28 November 2023
7.30pm–8.30pm
Dr Susan Connelly, a Sister of St Joseph, will reflect on the critical challenges to truth telling in public life in the light of Catholic Social Teaching on justice and peace. She is the author of East Timor, René Girard and Neocolonial Violence: Scapegoating as Australian Policy. Sr Susan is...
Holding the Light: an ecumenical service
Thursday 30 November 2023
5.00pm–6.00pm
The Holding the Light ecumenical service remembers victims and survivors of domestic and family violence, and will this year be held at Wesley Uniting Church (Lonsdale Street), with special guest speaker Sr Nicole Rotamu RSM.
2023 SummerFest
Thursday 30 November 2023
6.30pm–9.00pm
Come and join the young people of Melbourne as Archbishop Peter A Comensoli leads this special Six30 Holy Hour at St Patrick’s Cathedral, to be followed by a summer barbecue, live music and fiesta to celebrate the year’s end.
‘Sacrosanctum Concilium Sixty Years On’, presented by Rev John Baldovin SJ
Sunday 3 December 2023
5.00pm–6.30pm
Presented by Rev John Baldovin SJ, this public lecture will discuss questions relating to the Sacrosanctum Concilium. Fr Baldovin will explore how the Constitution has been received, the vision of the Reform, recent statements of Pope Francis in light of the liturgy, and prospects for the future. Fr Baldovin is...
Catholic Women’s League of Victoria and Wagga Wagga Advent carols
Saturday 9 December 2023
2.00pm–4.00pm
The Catholic Women’s League of Victoria and Wagga Wagga will be hosting Advent carols at St Mary’s, St Kilda East. Led by Fr Jerome Santamaria and featuring tenor Matthew Bennett, this is an afternoon not to be missed! Carols will be followed by afternoon tea at 3pm. Register by ...
Christmas Carols, St Patrick’s Cathedral
Sunday 17 December 2023
3.00pm–4.15pm
Come along for a family concert of traditional and modern Christmas carols in the beautiful and inspiring space of St Patrick’s Cathedral. Featuring Cathedral Brass, Cathedral Schola and the Grand Organ, this performance will include plenty of audience participation, a children’s segment and ‘special guest’ appearance. Tickets: Adult—$30 Concession—$25 Children...
Christmas concert, St Dominic’s Church
Sunday 17 December 2023
7.00pm–8.00pm
St Dominic’s Church, Camberwell East, will be hosting a Christmas concert featuring composers from the 12th to the 21st century. The concert will also be broadcast live by the Australian Digital Concert Hall. Tickets can be booked via TryBooking link. For further information, call 0468 584 309.

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

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