Be the face of the Father’s mercy - Archbishop Costelloe tells agency staff
Deacon Greg Lowe, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe and Father Brennan Sia (MC) during the annual Eucharistic Celebration for Church Agency Personnel at St Mary’s Cathedral on Thursday, 20 September. Photo: Ron Tan
By Rachel Curry
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe has last week challenged Archdiocese of Perth agency staff to make sure every encounter people have with their agencies is “an encounter with the mercy of Jesus”.
The Archbishop delivered the inspiring message during the annual Eucharistic Celebration for Church Agency Personnel at St Mary’s Cathedral on Thursday, 20 September.
The Mass was attended by some 200 staff and volunteers from Archdiocesan agencies, including the Administration Centre, Aboriginal Catholic Ministry, Emmanuel Centre, Daydawn Advocacy Centre; the Justice, Ecology and Development Office, Catholic Youth Ministry, Centre for Liturgy and the Archdiocesan Communications Office.
Director of the Justice, Ecology and Development Office, Carol Mitchell, leads the Universal Prayers during the Mass. Photo: Ron Tan
The Mass was concelebrated by Vicar General, Father Peter Whitely, Dean of St Mary’s Cathedral Monsignor Michael Keating, Mgr Brian O’Loughlin, Fr Phillip Perreau, Fr Brennan Sia (MC) and Deacon Greg Lowe.
During his homily, Archbishop Costelloe reflected on the Gospel reading, Luke 9:7-9, in which King Herod expresses curiosity about Jesus.
“Herod’s confusion about who Jesus really was actually does point us to the central theme of this chapter of Luke’s Gospel: it is the question Jesus asks the disciples: Who do people say that I am? Who do you say that I am?” the Archbishop said.
“The second question, ‘Who do you say that I am?’ is the one Jesus puts to each of us this morning. It is a question for every Christian, of course, but for all of us, who in one way or another are the face of the Church for the people who encounter us in our day to day work, it is particularly urgent.”
Herod’s confusion – he wonders if Jesus is John the Baptist come back to life – reminds us that we can get the answer to this question very wrong, Archbishop Costelloe went on to say.
“From then until now people have been trying to shape Jesus into what they want Him to be. But Jesus was not really asking, ‘Who am I for you?’ He was simply inviting people to discover the true answer to the question ‘Who am I?’” he said.
“It is not our job to construct a personal Jesus who meets our needs: rather, it is our task, and our privilege, to engage in the adventure of discovering Him as He really is.”
Archbishop Costelloe then recalled the words of Pope Francis, who has described Jesus as “the face of the Father’s mercy”.
These words have special meaning for those people who work in an agency of the Archdiocese of Perth, he said, thereby issuing a challenge to the congregation.
“If all of us, in our own ways as people engaged in the life and mission of the Church, are the face of the Church to those we encounter, then our vocation, and our goal, must be that every encounter people have with us is an encounter with the mercy of Jesus,” he said.
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe (second from right) shares a joke with Archdiocese of Perth agency staff at the morning tea following the Mass. Photo: Ron Tan
The Mass was followed by a morning tea in the Cathedral Parish Centre.