Mass to celebrate Clergy Jubilees 2023

Mass to acknowledge the clergy who celebrate a Jubilee of Ordination in 2023 was held on Tuesday, June 27, 2023 at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Ballarat at 5.00pm.  Bishop Paul Bird CSsR was the Main Celebrant and those celebrating Jubilees were invited to concelebrate Mass.

Proceedings began with an Acknowledgement of Country and are all were welcomed by Dr Peter Morris.

The choir members were from St Patrick’s Cathedral Parish Choir, the cantor was Thea Wilson and Helen Lee was the organist for the Mass.  Once again the music was fitting for the celebration and members of the congregation joined fully in the singing.

At the beginning of Mass, Bishop Paul welcomed all in attendance and acknowledged those celebrating Jubilees:

  • Fr Lawrie O’Toole – 50 years
  • Fr Bill Van de Camp – 50 years
  • Monsignor Glynn Murphy – 40 years
  • Fr Jorge de Chavez OSJ – 25 years
  • Fr Andrew Hayes – 25 years
  • Fr James Kerr – 10 years

John Meneely proclaimed the First Reading and Juanita Bongiorno led the Prayers of the Faithful.  Fr Jorge de Chavez  OSJ proclaimed the Gospel and Fr Lawrie O’Toole offered the Homily.  A copy of the homily follows:

Homily for Mass with Clergy Jubilarians by Fr Lawrie O’Toole

The word ‘Ballarat’ is a First Nation Word meaning ‘Resting Place’. The origins, of what became Lake Wendouree, was a swamp.  The swamp was a gathering place; a resting pace for the First Nation People, a place of life, provision, business and companionship.  It was a place of wellbeing.

Ballarat is also our gathering place.  Today the more active priests of the diocese gathered to discuss and plan together.  They gather now with the People of God to celebrate together our Christian identity – as priestly people, serving people and as God’s chosen people.  Together we thank and praise God for the significant anniversaries of Frs James Kerr, Jorge de Chavez, Andrew Hayes, Glynn Murphy, Bill Van de Camp and my, not so humble, self.  We thank God for our call and response in faith, hope and love!

When Fr Greg Tait (Council of Priests Executive) invited me to give the homily, he told me we would be celebrating the Feast of St Cyril of Alexandria.  I thought we should have a story there.  St Cyril was a stranger to me but I did remember “strangers are friends we have not met yet.”  I am still, cautiously, working on our friendship.  I will keep trying.

Cyril was from Alexandria in Egypt.  Alexandria was a place of learning, culture, resourcefulness and trade.  Alexandria had the first lighthouse in the world.  In the ancient world The Pharos Lighthouse was one of the seven wonders of the world.  An engineering marvel it lasted until the 14th Century.  Cyril himself was educated in the classics and became a scholar.  It is good to celebrate today with Cyril, a Monk, Priest and Bishop; a scripture scholar, a theologian and a writer.  He is now appreciated as a Doctor of the Incarnation.  He was a key presenter at the Council of Ephesus where he represented Pope Celestine I.  Cyril’s courageous presentations have given us our appreciation of Christ, as human and divine; and Mary as Mother of God.  Cyril’s legacy is recalled every time, “Hail Mary, Mother of God, pray for us” is uttered.

Today’s Office of Readings includes one of his letters and the response is, “St Cyril accomplished great things in the Spirit of God, and his teaching has spread throughout the world.”

The last time our extended diocesan Church gathered here was for the Mass of the Oils.  Significantly this evening we have the very same Psalm 89.  This rallying psalm is always led and sung beautifully at the Chrism Mass, when we celebrate the Priesthood of Christ continued today, by us, the laity, the religious and the ordained Priests and Bishops.

Our call as the Body of Christ, for the world today and for our diocese, has us joyfully sing, “I will sing forever of Your love, O Lord.  I have found David my servant and with my Holy Oil anointed Him.   My truth and my love shall be with him.  He will say to me –  ‘You are my Abba, the one who serves me.’”

As St Paul gave encouragement to his young disciple Timothy, so we remember, with thanksgiving, all those in Christ’s name who have encouraged and enlightened us.  “Be careful, be brave, make preaching of the good news your life’s work, in thorough going service.”

At this sacred gathering of the Lord’s Supper we encounter Jesus and His mission through us, “You are the salt of the earth; the zest, of the earth.  You are the light of the world.”   We encourage each other and enliven each other in Christ’s name and love.  The Cathedral Parish and the Ballarat parishes encourage us.  We are grateful.

The Greek word Eucharist means Thanksgiving.   The Eucharist is the sacrament of unity.  St Cyril wrote, “All of us who have received the One and the same Spirit, that is, the Holy Spirit, are in a sense merged together with one another and with God.  Just as the power of the holy flesh of Christ united those in whom it dwells into One Body, I think that, in much the same way, the one and undivided Spirit of God, who dwells in us all, leads us all, into spiritual unity.”

“You are salt for the earth, O people: Salt for the Kingdom of God! Share the flavour of life, O people: Life in the Kingdom of God!

You are a light on the hill, O people:  Light for the City of God!  Shine so holy and bright, O people: Shine for the Kingdom of God!”  (Marty Haugen)

At the end of Mass, Bishop Paul prayed a Blessing for the Jubilarians and all in attendance joined in song to share the blessing, “May God Bless You and Keep You.”

Following Mass, clergy gathered to share a meal and continue the celebrations.  We give thanks to those who celebrate a Jubilee this year and to all those who serve in our diocese.

Thank you to those who prepared the Cathedral for this Mass and to those who travelled to attend.

A copy of the Mass booklet can be viewed here.