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Holy Spirit unites Perth Catholic community through Confirmation and Commissioning

Newly Commissioned Plenary Council Members with Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, centre, from left, Fr George Kolodziej SDS, Prof Francis Campbell, Eva Skira AO, Gemma Thomson, Sr Mary Ryan OP and Catherine Nguyen. Photo: Ron Tan.

By Jamie O'Brien

Last weekend’s 11am Pentecost Sunday Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral took on a special significance with the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation for some 100 young people and Commissioning of additional Plenary Council Members for the Archdiocese of Perth.

In his homily for Pentecost Sunday at St Mary’s Cathedral on 23 May, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB said through the Holy Spirit’s power we are united to Christ as the one who brings us life and sets us free from sin. Photo: Ron Tan.

Celebrating the occasion in front of some 900 people, Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB was joined by concelebrants, Cathedral Dean Rev Dr Sean Fernandez, Redemptoris Mater Seminary Rector, Fr Michael Moore SM and Cathedral Assistant Priests, Fr CJ Millen, Fr Richard Rutkauskas and as MC, Fr Garner Vergara.

Redemptoris Mater Seminary Rector Fr Michael Moore SM proclaimed the Gospel during the Pentecost Sunday Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral on 23 May. Photo: Ron Tan.

“This morning, in a new and powerful way, these young people will be overshadowed by the power of God‘s Holy Spirit who will renew and deepen in them the gift of faith, of hope, and of love which are at the heart of every Christian life,” Archbishop Costelloe exclaimed in his homily.

“And then, just before the final blessing at Mass, we will commission some more members of the Fifth Plenary Council of the Church in Australia. 

“They will join those already commissioned as representatives of the Archdiocese of Perth here in Western Australia, or as representatives of major agencies and missions of the Church, as over 300 Catholics gather in October to try and discover, by listening to each other, just what it is that God is asking of us as the Church in Australia at this time.”

Newly Commissioned Plenary Council Members from left, Gemma Thomson (in the background) Sr Mary Ryan OP, Catherine Nguyen, Eva Skira AO and Fr George Kolodziej SDS present themselves before the congregation. Photo: Ron Tan.

The additional Members being Commissioned for the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia from the Archdiocese of Perth include University of Notre Dame Australia, Prof Francis Campbell, Regional Superior for the Salvatorian Order, Rev Fr George Kolodziej SDS, St John of God Health Care Chair of the Board of Trustees, representing the Association of Ministerial Public Juridic Persons Eva Skira AO, Dominican Sisters Congregational Leader, Sr Mary Ryan OP, Catholic Education Western Australia Catechist Services Consultant, Catherine Nguyen and Iona College Dean of Mission, Gemma Thomson.

Connecting the two special moments together, Archbishop Costelloe explained that when speaking of the Sacrament of Confirmation, we speak of it as one of the sacraments of full initiation into the life of God’s Church.

Archbishop Costelloe confirms one of the young people during the Pentecost Sunday Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral on 23 May. Photo: Ron Tan.

“One of the great saints of the early Church, Saint Augustine, expressed it this way. In baptism the Holy Spirit comes to us as the giver of life. Through the Holy Spirit’s power we are united to Christ as the one who brings us life and sets us free from sin,” he highlighted.

“In Confirmation, the Holy Spirit is at work in us to strengthen and deepen our faith so that we can share the gift of life we have been given with others, especially through our witnessing to the gospel by the way we live.”

Archbishop Costelloe continued by emphasizing that the people who would be commissioned as members of the Plenary Council at the end of Mass, are inspiring examples of what it looks like to say ‘yes’ to all the gifts which the Lord wishes to give us through our baptism, confirmation and our regular celebration of the Eucharist.

Archbishop Costelloe imparts a blessing on the young people receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation. Photo: Ron Tan.

“My hope and prayer this morning, then, is that those who are confirmed today will be inspired by the courage and generosity of those we commission for the Plenary Council.

“That those who are commissioned will be reminded by these brave young people of the wonderful gifts of the Lord which they first received through the sacraments and which have helped them to walk faithfully in the footsteps of the Good Shepherd throughout their lives.”