St Mary’s Cathedral was teeming with life last Monday night as the Catholic community of Perth celebrated 100 years as an Archdiocese.
The date could not have been more fitting, falling on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the feast after which St Mary’s, formally known as the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, takes its name.
In the presence of Pope Francis’ representative, the Papal Nuncio to Australia Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB led a capacity congregation in a prayer of rededication of the Cathedral and the whole Archdiocese to the care, protection and prayer of Mary.
“With this act of solemn dedication or consecration, I, as the Archbishop, want to give expression to a fundamental conviction of our Catholic faith,” the Archbishop said during his homily of the consecration which followed Eucharist.
“The writings of the New Testament show us that in those first decades after the Lord’s death and resurrection the early Christian communities quickly came to understand just how important Mary was, not just as the one who gave birth to the saviour but also, and even more, as the one who through her life of fidelity and faith shows us what true discipleship looks like. The words of Jesus as he suffered on the cross, entrusting his mother to the beloved disciple and entrusting the beloved disciple to his mother, came alive as people began to turn to her in prayer and experience in their day to day lives the power of her presence and of her prayers for them. “
“She showed herself to be very much the mother of all those who belonged to Jesus, and she continues to be our mother and our helper today.”
“At a time when the Church throughout the world, and therefore also here in our Archdiocese, is in great need of help as we face many difficult challenges, we need to turn to her again, rely on the power of her prayers, and entrust ourselves to her care and protection.”
“It is for this reason that what we are doing here in the Cathedral tonight is so important. Along with the countless number of people who have prayed in this Cathedral we too want to say, “Hail Holy Queen, mother of mercy, hail our life, our sweetness and our hope. To you do we cry… to you do we send up our sighs. Turn your eyes of mercy towards us. Pray for us now, and at the hour of our death.”
The Papal Nuncio Archbishop Gallagher spoke briefly before the close of proceedings, assuring the people of Perth of the Pope’s good wishes: “It is my honour and pleasure to represent Pope Francis here this evening, to speak to you in his name and to assure you of his love and support and his prayers at this time.”