Members of the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia should persevere in their prayers to the Mother of God, Bishop Paul Bird CSsR (pictured above) said on Friday morning.
The Bishop of Ballarat was the homilist during a Votive Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary to open the final full day of proceedings.
Just like the early Christian community who gathered in prayer with the Blessed Virgin, Bishop Bird said, “the mother of Jesus is with us, as she was with those first disciples”.
Mary is “a model of Christian living” and the “mother of the Church” in all of her traditions.
“Our faith in Christ and our trust in the prayers of Mary unite us as one Catholic Church, East and West,” Bishop Bird said.
The Catholic Church’s perennial veneration of the Mother of God is exemplified by the many churches named after her, he added.
Many Eastern liturgies, too, venerate Mary in their prayers, and Bishop Bird shared some of the prayers from the Chaldean, Melkite, Ukrainian and Syro-Malabar rites.
“In all our Catholic liturgies, of East and West, we rejoice that God has looked with such kindness on Mary and blessed her as mother of the Saviour and we ask her to intercede for our salvation and the salvation of the world,” Bishop Bird said.
Throughout the Plenary Council journey, he said, the intercession of the Blessed Virgin has been invoked. The Church would “do well to persevere in such prayer”.
“May the Holy Spirit continue to lead us into a hope-filled future, may Christ continue to be our bread for the journey, and may Our Lady Help of Christians continue to pray for us, day by day,” Bishop Bird said.
Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP of Sydney presided at the Mass, celebrated at St Mary’s Cathedral, saying: “As we embark on our last full day of work at the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia, we entrust the Church to [Mary’s] loving protection.”
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.