In his Patrick Oration this year, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli reflected on the presence of young people in the Church, saying, ‘On any given day, you may be quietly surprised just how many are engaging earnestly and fruitfully with their faith.’ A clear example of this engagement has been the enthusiastic response to Melbourne’s World Youth Day pilgrimage to Lisbon in August. The numbers are in: those journeying from Melbourne to Lisbon will be part of our largest overseas WYD pilgrimage ever.
In sadder news, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli has paid tribute to the late Fr Bob McGuire—‘fierce friend of the downhearted, the broken and the lost throughout his whole life’—who died this morning.
We also hear the fascinating stories of two men whose experiences of God’s faithfulness through the ups and downs of life have uniquely formed them for ordained ministry.
Fr Wiesław ‘Tony’ Słowik SJ—chaplain to the Polish community here in Melbourne—looks back over 50 years of priestly ministry, recalling the memorable day at St Ignatius Church in Richmond when he was ordained by Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, later Pope John Paul II—a man he came to regard as a father figure.
Deacon Hoa Tran, on the other hand, is just starting out on his journey as a permanent deacon after being ordained at St Patrick’s Cathedral in March. Having escaped to Australia from Communist Vietnam as a young man, he has lived a rich and eventful life, and embarks on this next phase of his journey with a sense of hope forged through adversity and joy.
In other news, a couple of newly released documents shed light on the diversity of backgrounds and perspectives to be found among the people of God in Australia and our region. Produced by the National Centre for Pastoral Research and based on recent census data, the Social Profile of the Catholic Community in Australia provides extensive demographic information on Australian Catholics. And in the recently published Oceania response to the Synod of Bishops document Enlarge the Space of your Tent, the bishops of Oceania have shared their ‘prayerful and considered thoughts’ on what they have heard from their people through the synodal process.
Finally, we hear about the Nourish and Flourish program recently launched by St Anthony of Padua Primary School and CatholicCatholic Victoria, which through its breakfast club and other initiatives is helping to build thriving communities, especially among disadvantaged families in Melton South.
As we continue to celebrate the dawning of new life and hope this Easter season, may we rediscover the youthfulness of the risen Christ in our own lives.