The Mass’ principal celebrant, Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, opened by saying that at the end of such an “extraordinary” day, it was right to stand before the living God, who breathes life into “the chaos of the Church, and certainly the chaos of our sin”.
The homily was given by Fr Dominic Steele Hartmann OCSO (pictured), the abbot of Tarrawarra Abbey in Victoria. He emphasised that the unity of the Church is found in Christ.
If people are joined together in Christ, he said, they enter into the “saving unity” of the Church.
“We are called to unity, unity with Christ through our union with one another, and we are called to be united; we need to be one – this is the way of salvation,” Fr Hartman said.
This unity, he warned, does not mean “uniformity”.
“Our differences are a gift,” he said, “a gift that we in our Australian Church are called to embrace.
“We are not all called to be the same, but we are all called through the particular gifts given to each to build each other up into the one Body of Christ, the Church.”
If we are looking for sanctification, he said, we should look to the “gift given us to carry out our ministry”.
“This is the way of holiness,” he said, “and the way to holiness.”
The love that people have for the Church, and for the unity of the Church, is a sign of “Christ’s Spirit come upon us”, and “we need to let it guide all that we do”.
On Thursday, the Council will resume work on other sections of its agenda. The opening session on Thursday will be livestreamed from 8.30am AEST.
Find out more about the Plenary Council and follow the second assembly at:
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Our diocesan logo is theologically rich and very succinct. As a hand, it depicts our mission as a diocese and as individuals within the diocese, of bearing (bringing, carrying) Christ’s love to one another and to the world around us. In this, we are the hand of Jesus Christ, and we are offering ourselves to him so that he might work through us.
We can be the bearers of his love only as a response to his call and in the strength of his grace. We are reminded of this in two ways—through the symbol of the dove (the Holy Spirit) also present in the logo, and by the incorporation of the cross that segments the logo. The presence of the cross is a reminder that bearing the love of Christ will inevitably cost us if we live it authentically. However, in the way that the Cross is the portent of redemption and life—an echo of the tree of life in the book of Genesis—so becoming bearers of the love of Christ will also bring us to life.
The four fingers of the hand also represent the four regions of our diocese. The first is bluerepresenting the beautiful water of the Shoalhaven. The second is a blue and green combination representing the waters and escarpment of the Illawarra. The third is greendepicting the hills and plains of the Macarthur. The fourth is dark green illustrating the forests of the Southern Highlands.