Introduction to Mass of Friday 14th Week of Ordinary Time Year C + 

08 Jul 2022

Second Assembly of the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia

St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney, 8 July 2022

A very warm welcome to you all to St Mary’s Cathedral for our Votive Mass of Mary, Mother of the Church. As we embark on our last full day of work for the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia, we entrust the Church to her loving protection as did her Son and ask Him to continue to bless all of the councillors with wisdom in discernment and courage in decision. As the mother church of Australia, St Mary’s Cathedral has been the backdrop of all five of our Plenary Councils (1885, 1895, 1905, 1937, 2022). When Cardinal Patrick Moran celebrated Mass for the first such council in 1885, Cardinal John Dew’s predecessor, Bishop Francis Redwood SM of Wellington, preached what was reportedly “a great sermon, worthy of a great occasion. Without a single note or reference the gifted preacher addressed the enormous assemblage for nearly an hour.” (Freeman’s Journal, 21.11.1885, p.16) Today’s homily may not be of such a length! But at the Opening Mass of the Third Plenary Council, in 1905, at which Archbishop Michael Kelly presided, the occasional preacher was “the very eloquent Redemptorist, Thomas O’Farrell” (Freeman’s Journal, 09.09.1905, p.16) and today we will hear from an equally eloquent Redemptorist preacher, Bishop Paul Bird of Ballarat. As the apostles awaiting the Spirit to fire them up prayed in the Cenacle with Mary, so do we in preparation for the work ahead.