Archbishop Peter A Comensoli recently visited the Parish of St Luke's, Wantirna, to celebrate their 40th Anniversary Mass. Speaking afterwards, the Archbishop reflected on the beauty and role of a parish, describing it as a place of sojourn and nourishment on the journey of faith. We pray that our parishes may continue to be living signs of the merciful and life-giving love of Christ in their local neighbourhoods.
'Hello friends, I'm here in St Luke's Wantirna today. They've just celebrated their 40th anniversary as a parish; a lovely celebration. It's lovely to be here in one of our parishes, and you can see the people gathered behind me ... just a bit of a cup of tea after the Mass.
It's a good reminder for me to say something about what a parish is. Because the word "parish", which we use so commonly and know kind of how we do it, has a particular meaning. The word parish means "to sojourn". That's a funny word, I know. But basically to sojourn is not to come to a place and stop. But it's a place, by which we might "pass through" on a pilgrimage.
So a place of sojourning is kind of a way station if you like. A place where we might come to pause, but then to also move on. And it's a lovely image that a parish might be in our own pilgrimage of faith – that a parish is a place where we might be able to pause to be renewed, to be nourished at the Eucharistic table, to be healed in the Sacrament of Penance, to plan for the pastoral needs, and to step out again into our daily lives within our families – in our work or whatever it is that we might do in our daily lives. In all of that way, a parish is God's place where we can come both to pause but then to go on, renewed in spirit and in life.
May all parishes be great places for pausing, for resting, for praying, for renewal, for nourishment and for the energy to get up and go on.
Every blessing to you all.'
—Archbishop Peter A Comensoli
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference20 April 2021