Dear Sisters and Brothers,
I am speaking to you at this time to invite you all to join me in a special Year of Renewal in the Archdiocese of Perth as we seek to recover and deepen our understanding of ourselves as a community of disciples of Jesus, aware of the precious gift of our faith and of both the beauty and hope it brings into our lives, and of the responsibility we have to cherish, protect and share this gift with others. We have not received the gift of faith because God loves us more than others. We have received it because God, in His mysterious plan, has chosen us to be the ones through whom God seeks to make known this love to others.
I want to share with you my firm conviction that we simply cannot be faithful to this call from God - a call that is given to us as members of a community, of the Church - unless we recognise that our deepest identity can only be found in our relationship with Christ. He is, after all, our way, and our truth, and our life. It is Him we follow, it is in Him that we put our trust, it is to Him that we commit our lives. What else could the name “Christian” possibly mean?
In our Catholic tradition we know that this communion, this identification, with the Lord Jesus is grounded in the mystery of the Eucharist. It is through the Eucharist, through the Mass, that we receive the invitation, not just as individuals but as a community of brothers and sisters, to eat his body and drink his blood; to be so intimately united with Him that we really do become, together, the Body of Christ, the living sacrament of His presence in the world. “Make your home in me,” He says, “as I make my home in you”. It is this promise and this invitation which is realised in the Eucharist.
We simply cannot be the Church, or at least not fully - we cannot be an effective witness to His presence in the world - without the Eucharist.
It is this conviction, which grows stronger in me every day, which has led me to ask Episcopal Vicar for Education and Faith Formation, the Very Rev Fr Vincent Glynn, to lead a program of renewal in our Archdiocese in 2023 to awaken in all of us, a renewed love for and awareness of the extraordinary gift we have in the Eucharist, in the Mass. It is God’s most precious gift to us through his Church: it is God’s gift of Himself in Christ.
Fr Glynn will be assisted in a special way by the Archdiocesan Centre for Faith Enrichment and the Archdiocesan Centre for Liturgy, but I am hoping that every parish, every school and agency and community in the Archdiocese will embrace this invitation with enthusiasm and energy.
Jesus once said, “Come to me all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt 11:28-30). It is in Him that we will find rest; it is in Him that we will learn to be gentle and humble of heart; it is in Him that we will find the strength to bear our burdens; and it is in Him that we will learn how to be credible and effective witnesses to his love and care for His people.
Please join us as we seek to learn again the richness and the beauty of the precious gift of the Eucharist which the Lord gives us in and through his holy Church.