Tag Archive: archdiocese of brisbane

I haven’t posted on this blog for a long time now, but I feel moved to share these thoughts following a Memorandum that was posted recently on the noticeboard at Villa Maria, Fortitude Valley.   The memo is dated 27 December 2017, and a copy was passed to me yesterday.   It is addressed to the “Residents, Relatives, staff, VM community friends” and as the first paragraph says, “including those who have been regular visitors to our resident chapel.”  The memo is intended for many of us, therefore, and deserves to be seen by all concerned.  As the memo will probably be counted as “community communication/consultation” at some point, this is further reason to see that it is shared with all concerned.

I share these thoughts as a concerned Catholic, and in support of the lay faithful who are upset at the proposed building works to be undertaken in the original chapel at Villa Maria.   Villa Maria is a spiritual gem of our Archdiocese.  As someone who was “born and bred” in Brisbane, I – along with many others – feel a strong connection to this place of prayer.  Father Julian Tenison Woods co-founded the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in 1874, and the Sisters have been in Spring Hill since 1881 and on the present site since 1900.  The older building, which contains the chapel which is the subject of this post, was constructed from 1927 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Villa_Maria_Hostel).

It is noteworthy that Catholic Healthcare explicitly states in the memorandum that it has abandoned the plans for a café adjacent to the chapel.  This is good news.  However, what remains perplexing, as per the drawing, is that approximately one third of the people’s nave of the chapel is still to be turned into a “gathering space” and to be partitioned off from the remains of the chapel by glass screens.  What is also not mentioned, and what exists in the documentation for building approvals (as seen already on the internet), is the demolition work to be undertaken to turn the choir loft into a dining room.

The burning question in this debacle is this: why is it not possible to create the additional dining and lounge facilities for the residents in some other part of the building, or in the courtyard spaces around the chapel?  At least one other Brisbane architect has spent many hours to work out how all the extra facilities for the residents can be incorporated, without having to do anything at all to the chapel.  Why are these suggestions not being taken on board?  Why is one of our historic and beautiful sacred spaces going to be permanently disfigured by relegating parts of it to secular use, when there is absolutely no need to do so?  Catholic Healthcare plan to increase the number of residents at Villa Maria, so surely more space should be needed in the chapel, not less.

Catholic Healthcare (http://www.catholichealthcare.com.au/), the organisation that has the lease on the old building at Villa Maria, is owned – as I understand it – by the Catholic Bishops of Lismore, Wollongong, Bathurst, and Parramatta, together with the Sisters of Saint Joseph.  A win-win solution exists to this situation, with the addition of extra facilities for the residents, and also the preservation of the old chapel, retaining its unique character as it presently is, as a sacred space which has been in continuous use as a place of worship and prayer for close to a century, and remains so to this day.  Please help save this historic and special place, as it is, for the present and for the future.

We implore the above-named bishops to intervene, and to help steer the situation to a happy conclusion for all involved.

Other updates on Villa Maria have been seen here: https://twitter.com/Bl_LongoSociety

Villa Maria Memo 2017 12 27 p.1







Villa Maria Memo 2017 12 27 p.2


corpus christi cHomily for Mass – The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ [Corpus Christi] (Year C)

(Our Lady of the Assumption Church, Park Ridge: 8am;  Saint Catherine’s Church, Jimboomba: 5.30pm)

2 June 2013

(Readings: Gen 14:18-20;  Ps 109;  1 Cor 11:23-26;  Lk 9:11-17)


As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ there are so many different aspects of the Eucharist that we could meditate on.  We recall that in the Constitution on the Liturgy, the fathers of Vatican II taught: “the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows. For the aim and object of apostolic works is that all who are made sons of God by faith and baptism should come together to praise God in the midst of His Church, to take part in the sacrifice, and to eat the Lord’s supper” (SC, 10).  Everything we do as a Church is meant to draw people into faith, into communion with the Lord, so that ultimately they will praise him in the midst of the sons and daughters of God, and share in the Lord’s Supper.  The same council fathers, in the Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, described the eucharist as the source and summit (or the fount and apex) of the whole Christian life (LG, 11).  Today is a good reminder to us of the esteem in which we should hold the celebration of Sunday Mass, and of our obligation to participate in Mass every Sunday.

Sunday Mass is the ongoing way that God shapes us as his sons and daughters.  We are kept in lively communion with our brothers and sisters in the faith;  we are nourished by the Holy Word of God in the scriptures;  we are assisted by the ministry of the Church’s pastors, and through them united with the church dispersed through the whole world – all in communion with the successor of St Peter.  The high point of our participation in Sunday Mass is our reception of holy communion – the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  We are nourished by his Body so that we can be his body in the world.  He gives us sacramental grace to assist us in all that we do, and to help us to live the virtues.

It has always been the Catholic tradition that Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is carried to those who cannot be present at Mass due to illness and infirmity.  Some of you share in that wonderful ministry of taking Holy Communion to the sick and the housebound, and you would know how grateful they are to be able to receive Our Lord, and to know that they are united with us in His Body and Blood.

Because of the desire of the Church always to be able to take Our Lord in Holy Communion to the sick, and even to the dying so that they may receive Him as food for their final journey to eternity, the Blessed Sacrament is kept in the tabernacles of all our churches.  What a consolation of the faith this is – that the sacramental presence of Jesus is always present with us in our churches, so that we can be near to him as he is to us.  It’s one of the things that makes our churches such special places;  places that we can always come to to pray, to bring our lives to Jesus, to cast before him our needs and petitions.

eucharist held in handsOur feast day today is an opportunity for us to remember the love that we should show to Our Lord present in the Blessed Sacrament.  The first thing we do upon entering the Church should be to greet Our Lord;  to pause for at least a moment in prayer before Him present in the tabernacle.  It is good to remember that whenever we pass before the tabernacle we are to reverence Jesus with a genuflection: bending the knee before him.  Those who can’t physically perform that gesture may of course make a deep bow from the waist.

The Archbishop wrote to the clergy recently about Liturgical matters, and one of the things he asked us to address is the “interplay between sound and silence” in the liturgy, and he noted that “our liturgy tends to have become wordy and noisy, with silence often minimal or absent.  [He said] this is particularly so before Mass when people spontaneously (and quite loudly) speak in the Church.”  The Archbishop invited the clergy to consider ways of inviting the people to a time of silence before the Entrance Song begins.  So we should be conscious that people have come to church to pray, and so we should keep a spirit of reverence in the church, and not distract people from prayer by unnecessary activity or talking (1).

Those who do carry the Blessed Sacrament to the sick and housebound should also consider what a special thing they are doing, and not show any disrespect to Our Lord while carrying him.  The Blessed Sacrament should be taken straight to the sick or housebound person.  If it is necessary to keep the sacrament for a brief time at home before visiting the sick, then it should be put in a dignified spot – perhaps on a prayer table or something similar – and you should always be conscious that Jesus is present.

if people spent an hour ... abortion would be ended (mother teresa) To conclude … Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta is well-known for her work amongst the poor.  The images of her tending to the sick, the destitute, and the dying, are very familiar.  What is not as often reported is that Mother Teresa – and indeed all her sisters –  every day spent many hours in adoration before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.  He was her strength for all she did, and she opened herself to him in the Eucharist – both in the celebration of the Mass, and in its extension through Eucharistic adoration (2).

When we stay close to Jesus in the ways he has provided for us to remain with him, then miracles will happen like the one that he worked through the hands of the disciples when they fed the five thousand from just a few loaves and fishes, and like what Jesus was able to accomplish through the work of a poor Albanian nun, Blessed Mother Teresa.

Today we give thanks to God for the gift of the Eucharist.  May we always show our thanks and love for this awesome mystery by our reverence towards Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament;  by spending time in prayer before Him;  by receiving Him worthily and to quickly have recourse to the Sacrament of Confession when we sin seriously so as not to receive Our Lord unworthily or sacrilegiously;  and above all, having received such great a gift, that we take his love and blessings to the world by living as His Body, and being the voice through which He speaks His love, and the hands by which He extends His love to those for whom He lived and died.


(1) Archbishop Mark Coleridge’s recent letter to clergy about the Sacred Liturgy can be found here: Abp Coleridge to clergy RE liturgy 2013 05

(2) See also: “When did Mother Teresa begin daily Eucharistic adoration with her Sisters?” http://www.eucharisticfamilyrosary.com/blog/mother_teresa_daily_eucharistic_adoration/



In the midst of Catholic Education Week (July 22 – 28), and as one of his first major appointments since his installation as Archbishop of Brisbane, Archbishop Coleridge has appointed Ms Pam Betts as the new Executive Director of Catholic Education in the Archdiocese of Brisbane.  Ms Betts succeeds Mr David Hutton who has held the post for fourteen years.

The Archbishop has said that Catholic education is one of his priorities, which adds a certain significance to this appointment.

The Archbishop’s announcement can be viewed here: Archbishop’s announcement Exec Dir Cath Ed Brisbane

Please remember in your prayers our Archbishop, Mark Coleridge, who will receive the pallium from Pope Benedict XVI on June 29, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul.  Various representatives of the Archdiocese are present in Rome with him for the pallium ceremony.

The pallium is a band of fabric about two inches wide, made of white lamb’s wool, that circles the neck and hangs down in the front and back.  It is worn over the chasuble during Mass.  “The pallium signifies the power which the metropolitan, in communion with the Roman Church, has by law in his own province” (canon 437).

On the Feast of Saint Agnes in February each year, two lambs are blessed by the Pope, and the wool from these lambs are made by a group of nuns into the pallium, which is presented on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul to all those who have become Metropolitan Archbishops in the previous year.

Regions of the Church are broken up into ecclesiastical provinces.  Each province has a Metropolitan Archbishop, and then there are one or more suffragan sees/dioceses in the province.  Canon Law ascribes to the bishops of an ecclesiastical province certain responsibilities, e.g. every three years they are to compose a list of priests suitable for the office of bishop and send the list to the Apostolic See (c. 377), and to determine the offering to be given for the celebration and application of Mass (c. 952).   Canon 436 outlines the competencies of a Metropolitan Archbishop in his province.   The pallium may only be worn within the territory of the Metroplitan’s province.

Being made of lamb’s wool, I like to think of the pallium – which is worn over the shoulders – as a reminder that the Metropolitan Archbishop is to act like Christ the Good Shepherd, who cares for the flock, even carrying the sheep back to the safety of the pasture.

As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ this Sunday, the Fiftieth International Eucharistic Congress begins in Dublin.  Bishop Oudeman will be representing the Archdiocese of Brisbane at the Congress.  Archbishop Coleridge has asked us to remember this Congress in our prayers over the coming week.  He notes the “debt of gratitude” that we owe to the Church in Ireland, and asks that we pray that “Ireland will know a new surge of Gospel energy and become once again a missionary power-house within the universal Church.”

See the Archbishop’s full letter here: Eucharistic Congress Dublin – Letter from Abp Coleridge

For those in Brisbane, don’t forget the Corpus Christi procession and benediction tomorrow (Sunday 10 June 2012) at Nudgee Junior College, Indooroopilly.  All are invited to participate as a demonstration of our love for Jesus, our Eucharistic Lord.

Concelebrants waiting to enter the cathedral before the Mass

The weather was perfect today as the 7th bishop, and 6th archbishop took canonical possession of the Archdiocese of Brisbane.  Canon 382, 3 & 4 states: “A Bishop takes canonical possession of his diocese when, personally or by proxy, he shows the apostolic letters to the college of consultors, in the presence of the chancellor of the curia, who makes a record of the fact. […] It is strongly recommended that the taking of canonical possession be performed with a liturgical act in the cathedral church, in the presence of the clergy and the people.”

This ceremony took place during a splendid Mass in Brisbane’s Cathedral of Saint Stephen, concelebrated by bishops from around Australia, and clergy of Brisbane and beyond.  Heads of Churches were well represented, and in attendance also was the Governor of Queensland, the Premier, the Chief Justice and the leader of the Opposition.  The Cathedral was packed with representatives from parishes, schools, religious, and the various organisations that make up the archdiocese.  A large number followed the ceremony on screens outside the cathedral, and many more would have joined the celebrations via the live feed on the internet (the Mass may be viewed online at http://bne.catholic.net.au/asp/index.asp?pgid=12098).

Upon entering the Cathedral this morning, immediately evident was the new Archbishop’s coat of arms above the cathedra, something that has not been seen in our cathedral, certainly since the renovations in the late 80’s.

I’ve been away from the diocese for some time, so it was interesting and pleasing to see a few liturgical changes that I hope are permanent and not just for today.  Chief on my “happy to see” list was the use of proper chants at the Entrance, Offertory and Communion, instead of hymns.  I love hymns as much as anyone, however the Roman Rite of Mass is meant to be accompanied by chants, both for the Ordinary of the Mass, and at the above mentioned times.  One of my hopes is that the use of the revised English translation of the Roman Missal will encourage much more use of chant for the Propers of the Mass.

Some will be very happy to know that – finally – the norms of Redemptionis sacramentum were observed and that the Precious Blood was not poured from vessel to vessel.  I certainly hope that the procedure observed today is here to stay.  It always seemed a little odd that most parishes adapted their practices but the cathedral didn’t.

And while it is hardly earth-shattering, it was absolutely beautiful to hear bells rung once again at the elevations.  Their elimination always seemed unnecessary to me, and with all the other beautiful music in today’s Mass, the sound of bells during this high-point of the celebration is hardly out of place.

The new Archbishop preached strongly about the need for the Church to truly become missionary, and to embrace the new evangelisation which has been called for not just by the Popes, but indeed by the Holy Spirit.  At another point the Archbishop reflected on his episcopal motto: Sanguis et aqua – Blood and water: a reference to the blood and water which flowed from Christ after his side was pierced with a lance.  In this he echoed themes that I remember him preaching on in retreats he gave to us in the seminary: there is no weakness that cannot be turned – by God – into a manifestation of his power and strength.

Some of the concelebrating Bishops at the conclusion of Mass

His Grace also taught us – something that I had never known before – that Brisbane means “bone breaker.”  He promised not to be a bone breaker, but did add that difficult decisions don’t necessarily please everyone.  (For more on the etymology of “Brisbane” see http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Brisbane).

All in all, it was a joyful celebration for the beginning of a new chapter in the life of our Archdiocese.

Welcome, Archbishop Mark!  

Please pray for him as he begins his ministry as our Pastor, and – as he said in his homily – that in seeing and hearing him, we will in fact see and hear Jesus Christ.

Thanks to Bishop Jarrett:

P.S. As Archbishop Coleridge took possession of the diocese, Bishop Jarrett’s role as Apostolic Administrator came to a conclusion.  Please say a prayer in thanksgiving for Bishop Jarrett’s willingness to take on the governance of the Archdiocese of Brisbane, as well as that of his own diocese of Lismore, during the time that Brisbane was sede vacante.

UPDATE 12 MAY 2012:

There are some more bits and pieces over at The Acolyte’s Tale.

Brisbane has a new Archbishop!

A new era begins for the Archdiocese of Brisbane.

The announcement has come through that Archbishop Mark Coleridge, currently Archbishop of Canberra-Goulburn, has been appointed by the Holy Father as the next Archbishop of Brisbane.

We warmly welcome Archbishop Coleridge, and ask God’s blessing upon him as he leads our Archdiocese in the coming years.

+ + +

Official press releases:

Statement from Archbishop Coleridge: Statement from Archbishop Mark Coleridge

Statement from the Archdiocese of Brisbane: Statement from the Archdiocese of Brisbane

Announcement from the Nunciature:  Nunciature announcement

(The above can also be found at http://www.catholic.org.au/index.php?option=com_docman&Itemid=355)

Other information about Archbishop Coleridge:

Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocesan website: http://www.cg.catholic.org.au/about/default.cfm?loadref=15




Other sites carrying this story:

Australia Incognita:  http://australiaincognita.blogspot.ca/2012/04/archbishop-coleridge-goes-to-brisbane.html

CathNews:  http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=30829

Dominus mihi adjutor:  http://hughosb.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/archbishop-coleridge-translated-to-brisbane/

Doohan it this Way:  http://doohan.id.au/2012/04/02/new-archbishop-of-brisbane-announced/

Sentire Cum Ecclesia:  http://scecclesia.com/?p=6316

Vatican News:  http://www.news.va/en/news/archbishop-coleridge-appointed-to-brisbane

Vexilla Regis:  http://vexilla-regis.blogspot.ca/2012/04/new-archbishop-of-brisbane-gaudete-et.html

+ + +

Many had predicted this move, so it isn’t really a surprise.  For what it’s worth, I think Archbishop Coleridge is an excellent choice for our Archdiocese, and I look forward to working with him.

Ecce sacerdos magnus, qui in diebus suis placuit Deo, et inventus est justus.
Behold a great priest, who in his days pleased God, and has been found just.