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St Patrick's Cathedral, Ballarat

Communities of Alfredton, Ballarat, Cardigan
Lake Gardens, Lake Wendouree, Lucas, Newington

St Patrick's Cathedral Parish acknowledges that the Aboriginal people of Australia are our first nation peoples and the traditional owners and custodians of this land.

We are a child safe Parish following the Child Safe Standards outlined by the Victorian Government, implementing procedures and standards as directed by the Professional Standards Office of the Catholic Diocese of Ballarat.

Second Sunday of Advent (Year C)

5th December, 2021

3 Lyons St Sth Ballarat

Parish Office hours:
Tuesday - Friday
10.00am - 5.00pm

Telephone: 53 312 933

On Mondays the Parish Office is closed.

On weekends and after regular office hours,
the phone will be transferred to the on call priest
so that the Hospitals, Aged Care facilities, Funeral Directors
or others seeking the services of a priest may be responded to.

Cathedral Clergy: Frs Justin Driscoll and Eladio Lizada
Parish Coordinator: Anita Houlihan
Finance Officer: Kerrie McTigue

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Sunday Masses with no limits on the numbers of those who can attend. Bookings are not required to attend these Masses, however,
QR code or registration upon entry and full vaccination status needs to be provided to the COVID Check-in Marshal please.

St Patrick’s Cathedral
6.30pm Vigil




It will no longer be necessary to book for Sunday Masses.
Please check in with the COVID-19 Marshall who will verify your vaccination status.

Weekday Masses will be celebrated in the Cathedral
When the limit is indicated for 50 people, no vaccination status is required.

Monday 10.00am  (50)

Tuesday 10.00am (50)

Wednesday  10.00am (50)

Thursday 10.00am (50)

Friday  7.30am (50) 12.05pm  11.30am Reconciliation

Saturday 10.00am (50)  10.30am Reconciliation

It will no longer be necessary to book for Sunday Masses.
Please check in with the COVID-19 Marshal who will verify your vaccination status

* * * * * * * * * * *
You are more than welcome for private prayer as the Cathedral is open.
We are required to abide by Government Covid rules which are:

QR Code or sign in when entering the Cathedral
Hand sanitise upon entry
When up to 50 attendees vaccination status is not required; masks should be worn when indoors

When over 50 attendees, full vaccination status required and if you are unable to social distance, masks encouraged.

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Become our friend and follow us on Facebook:
or find further information on our website here.

If you feel that you need support or would like to speak with a priest or a member of our Cathedral team please contact the Parish Office, which will be attended for the usual times (Tuesday – Friday, 10am – 5pm), on
53 312 933 or alternatively you can email

We encourage all parishioners to reach out to their neighbours, family members, friends, colleagues and especially to those that you know who live on their own.

For many, restrictions are a challenge and our pastoral care of each other is an expression of our faith in the compassionate Christ and belonging to the Body of Christ.


Readings for this week:   Second Sunday of Advent

First: Baruch 5:1-9  Second: Philippians 1:3-6. 8-11

Gospel: Luke 3:1-6

Readings for next week: Third Sunday of Advent

First:   Zephaniah 3:14-18  Second:  Philippians 4:4-7

Luke 3:10-18

John Treacy

Antonio Bazzano
Raymond Button
Marie Bruce
Margaret Cashman
Elizabeth & George Clark
Jack Coffey
Brenda Copi
Anthony Crimmons
Denis Davey
Maria Hammill
Leslie Keating
John Lever
Fr John Martin
Stephen McDonald
Brian McKinley
Czeslaw Mytyk
David O'Sullivan
Jim Power
Peter Quinlan
Lorna Reid
Pedro Santana
Eileen Segrave

David Sim
Ria Strybosch
Mick Taffe
Mary Wilkie

Advent Senior’s Mass with Anointing –
12.05pm Friday December 17th
2021 Christmas Masses
Christmas Eve, Friday December 24th

6.00pm Cathedral

6.30pm St Patrick’s College Chapel 1431 Sturt St

7.30pm Cathedral
(no vaccination status, numbers limited to 50
– please register for this Mass)

9.00pm Cathedral

12 Midnight Cathedral

Christmas Day, Saturday December 25th

8.00am Cathedral

10.30am Cathedral

Sunday December 26th Feast of the Holy Family

8.00am, 10.30am and 5.00pm at the Cathedral

International Volunteer Day –
Sunday, December 5, 2021

Within our Cathedral parish community are many volunteers who provide their talents and time to contribute to the mission of our church.

We thank God for all our in midst who continue to strive to make our parish a place of celebration, initiation, prayer, outreach, and service.  
Ordinations to the Diaconate
Seminarians Bill Lowry and Matt Restall will be ordained Deacons for the Diocese of Ballarat on Friday, December 10th 2021 in St Patrick’s Cathedral Ballarat at 7.00pm.  All are welcome to attend. Attendance requirements for the Cathedral is QR code or registration upon entry and full vaccination status needs to be provided to the COVID check-in Marshals. Supper will follow in the Cathedral Hall.

The Diocesan vocations committee invite us to pray for Bill and Matt over the coming weeks, that as they who will be ordained to serve God’s Church as Deacons, be effective in action, gentle in ministry, and constant in prayer.

Evening Prayer will be prayed in the Cathedral on Thursday December 9th at 5.30pm with a focus on praying for Bill and Matt – all are invited to join us.

DONATION EMBRACED: St Vincent de Paul's Alan West and Kevin Elliott; Radio Ballarat's John Fitzgibbon; Catholic Diocese of Ballarat business manager Andrew Jirik; Salvation Army Ballarat's John Clonan; and Anglicare's Kim Boyd.

Picture: Adam Trafford.

Vinnies Christmas
Kindness Appeal

This Christmas donate to Vinnies.
Your gift can change a life.
There are families who are experiencing poverty and homelessness this Christmas and your help can provide them with much needed essentials like food, clothing and a place to call home.

St John of God Healthcare Ballarat -
Pastoral Associate Roles

The hospital has exciting opportunities available for dedicated and committed Pastoral Associates to join the Pastoral Services team in promoting the Mission and Values of St John of God Health Care. 
Go here to view the job description and/or to apply.
Where to now with Religious Discrimination?

On Thursday, three Bills were introduced to the House of Representatives: the Religious Discrimination Bill 2021, the Religious Discrimination (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2021, and the Human Rights Legislation Amendment Bill 2021. Collectively, these bills constitute the Morrison Government’s response to the Ruddock Religious Freedom Review provided to government in May 2018.
None of the bills deals with the enrolment of children in religious schools which blew up as an issue during the 2018 Wentworth by-election. That awaits the tweaking of the Sex Discrimination Act which is not due until the Australian Law Reform Commission reports to government sometime in the next year or two.  In his second reading speech introducing the Religious Discrimination Bill 2021, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Parliament: ‘Nothing in this bill — I stress: nothing — allows for any form of discrimination against a student on the basis of sexuality or gender identity. You won’t find anything of that nature in this bill. Such discrimination has no place in our education system.’ Given that both sides of our Parliament accept without reservation that such discrimination has no place in any school, religious or not, it is outrageous that our Parliament has not clarified this matter three years on, and that we will have to await yet another federal election before the matter is legislated obliging educators not to discriminate against a child on the basis of sexuality or gender identity.

Those few religious zealots who would want to retain the power to exclude a child on the basis of sexuality or gender identity from a school in receipt of government funding need to accept that their world view can no longer be justified in Australia as an appropriate exercise of religious freedom. In 1983, the High Court of Australia delivered a definitive judgment on the limits of religious freedom in which Justices Mason and Brennan said: ‘[T]he area of legal immunity marked out by the concept of religion cannot extend to all conduct in which a person may engage in giving effect to his faith in the supernatural. The freedom to act in accordance with one’s religious beliefs is not as inviolate as the freedom to believe, for general laws to preserve and protect society are not defeated by a plea of religious obligation to breach them. Religious conviction is not a solvent of legal obligation.’

The bills introduced last week do deal with the issue of the employment of teachers in religious schools. A religious educational institution will be able to publish and implement an employment policy giving preference, in good faith, to teachers and other staff who hold or engage in the school’s particular religious belief or activity.  Mr Morrison told Parliament: ‘The bill recognises that religious schools must be free to uphold the tenets of their faith and the ethos that makes their school a community. It is recognition of the sacrifices parents make to educate their children in accordance with their values and beliefs and the choices they have made for their children's education. As many schools have said throughout this process, “faith is caught not taught”.’ It’s worth recalling that the UN Declaration of Human Rights states: ‘Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.’ The bill protects the fundamental right for religious schools to hire religious staff to maintain their religious ethos in accordance with a publicly available policy. This part of the Morrison government’s proposal would allow the Commonwealth to override a state law which does not provide this religious freedom.

A showdown is pending with Victoria which is legislating to allow a very limited freedom to show preference for teachers subscribing to the school’s religious ethos only if conformity with the doctrines, beliefs or principles of the school’s religion is ‘an inherent requirement of the position’. The discrimination must be ‘reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances’. The Commonwealth has put Victoria on notice that the Victorian law will be a ‘prescribed law’ to be overridden by the new Commonwealth law.

Read the whole article by Fr Frank Brennan SJ in Eureka Street here

Bishops endorse Uluru Statement from the Heart

Australia’s Catholic bishops, on the recommendation of their key Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advisers, have endorsed the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference made the decision as it gathered online for its biannual meeting earlier this month.

The bishops’ consideration of the matter was informed by the words of St John Paul II, who in a visit to Alice Springs in 1986 said to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: “Your culture, which shows the lasting genius and dignity of your race, must not be allowed to disappear… Your songs, your stories, your paintings, your dances, your languages, must never be lost.”

Bishop Columba Macbeth-Green OSPPE, chair of the Bishops Commission for Relations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, said the Bishops Conference had been awaiting guidance on the Statement from the Heart.

“We are very grateful for the reflections of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council in helping shape our thinking on this important subject,” Bishop Macbeth-Green said.

Read the full Media Statement here

“That Council recently endorsed the Statement from the Heart, and we have listened carefully to their reasons for doing so.

“We also heard from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members of the Plenary Council at our recent assembly of their desire for the Church in Australia to follow NATSICC’s lead.”

The Plenary Council’s agenda called for the Church to “honour and acknowledge the continuing deep spiritual relationship of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to this country and commit ourselves to the ongoing journey of reconciliation”.

Journalist suggests Church should
‘return to its roots’
Chris Uhlmann (Supplied)

When journalist and author Chris Uhlmann ponders the future of the Church, his late mother, Mary, is always foremost in his thoughts. Source: Catholic Voice.

Mary, a former Catholic school principal in Canberra, was one of the “true believers”.

“She and the other women were the heart and soul of the Church. These were the footsoldiers who kept the faith,” says Mr Uhlmann, once a seminarian who still describes himself as a Catholic, albeit a non-practising one, thanks to the values his mother instilled in him.

For Mr Uhlmann – who has worked for The Canberra Times, the ABC, co-written political novels and is now Nine’s political editor – Mary epitomises the “grassroots” faithful who should be leading the Church into a new era.

“Maybe it needs to return to the roots of that small Church that was revolutionary in the way it bore witness to the truth,” Mr Uhlmann said.
He advocates a return to basics, including embracing “the original blessing of humanity”.

“We constantly forget the message of Christ – that he was blessing the idea of being human, in all its brokenness – and demand that people behave like angels,” he says.

Mr Uhlmann will discuss this issue at the launch of Australian Catholic University’s Ethos series on public ethics and the future of Australia, in Canberra on December 9th.

Details of this series can be found here
Synodality and Catholicism  as a set of communicating vessels

Reasons to remain hopeful that synodality will spread and take root throughout the Church

Pope Francis launched the "synodal process" at the beginning of October in Rome and, two months later, Catholics in his native Latin America have been to join the initiative in a serious and organized way.

Bishops, priests, men and women religious, and the lay faithful gathered from November 21-28 at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in suburban Mexico City for the first-ever "Ecclesial assembly of Latin America and the Caribbean".
This unprecedented gathering was organized by the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM) with its 22 national bishops' conferences and the Latin American Confederation of Religious Men and Women (CLAR). The event took place in two phases.

The first phase consisted in listening sessions throughout the region, while the second phase was the actual assembly itself. Roughly 100 representatives from across Latin America and the Caribbean gathered for the assembly, a reduced number due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But more than 900 others participated virtually.

Two-tier Church participation
According to the organizers, the bishops, priests and men and women religious made up 60% of the assembly (20% in each category), while the other 40% of those attending the assembly were lay people. The participation of permanent deacons was marginal. If you get the impression that it was a two-tier Catholic Church participation in the "synodal process" – with Latin America in the lead, and the rest of the world following way behind – you are right. This kind of "ecclesial assembly" is hardly imaginable in other parts of the world, at least for now. It was made possible by the particularly lively way the Church in Latin America embraced and implemented the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). Peruvian Archbishop Hector Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte, the president of CELAM, told the assembly it was time for a "second reception" of Vatican II. That's something that US Catholics have not heard from leaders of their bishops' conference in a long time. Cardinal Mario Grech, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, also emphasized Vatican II's role in preparing the Latin American Church for the synodal process during his address to the ecclesial assembly.

Dr Sr Mary Glowrey JMJ:
‘God’s Good for Nothing’
Autobiography published a century later

This month, a century after Mary completed her novitiate and made her Temporary Vows, the Mary Glowrey Museum has published her autobiography, with the support of ACU. This is the first time this account has been published in its entirety. The new publication, The Autobiography of Dr Sr Mary Glowrey JMJ: ‘God’s Good for Nothing’, also includes Sr Peter Julian’s continuation of Mary’s story, a contemporaneous preface written by another Sister and beautiful photos from the Mary Glowrey Collection.

Mary Glowrey was born in Birregurra in 1887. She was educated in Watchem, and then in Melbourne through scholarships. She earned her medical qualification, an MBBS, from the University of Melbourne in 1910 and then a higher degree, an MD, in 1919. In 1915 Mary experienced her vocational calling to medical missionary work with women in India. She did not leave Australia until 1920. Her time of preparation included war-time years, during which she worked in Melbourne hospitals and her private practice in Collins Street and completed her MD. She was active in voluntary community work, including serving as the first General President of the Catholic Women’s League of Victoria and Wagga Wagga from 1916 until 1919. She overcame many obstacles during these years, including a bout of influenza in early 1919.

A more complete summary by Fiona Power can be read here

Church should prioritise wider community interests                                           over its own      

Church and state are confronting one another right now over the federal freedom of religion bill and the Victorian anti-discrimination bill. Whenever such confrontation occurs it reveals our priorities. We define our identity by what we choose to fight for hardest.  

Education has always been one of the central elements of the Catholic Church’s interaction with the state. This time it is not about the usual school funding issues, but the right to administer internal school matters, such as choosing staff and students, in the way the church sees fit.
The most prominent church voices include our senior leaders, Archbishops Anthony Fisher of Sydney and Peter Comensoli of Melbourne.

These two archbishops are not only strong advocates of religious freedom but also strong opponents of same sex marriage. They ran the most vociferous aspects of the church’s recent anti-same sex marriage campaign. The origins of this freedom of religion bill were in promises made by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to assuage disappointed conservative Coalition MPs after the same sex marriage plebiscite led to its legalisation.  

Four years later the two issues are inseparable in the public mind as the same sex marriage campaign of 2017 is still fresh. The church cannot escape its public record. The general community and LGBTQI+ Catholics do not trust church authorities when so-called freedom of religion and gay rights clash. Rainbow Catholics Inter/Agency for Ministry has just reiterated this point; it supports the Victorian anti-discrimination bill, while opposing the federal freedom of religion bill, which would potentially over-ride state laws.

Anti-discrimination and freedom of religion debates reflect much broader views about faith and society. The broader conservative campaign, including some Catholic leaders, disproportionately paints modern society as anti-faith and threatening to churches. This is an inappropriate starting point for a church political intervention and puts the church in the wrong company.

St Joseph – a Man of Law
St Joseph is described in Matthew’s Gospel as “a just man” (Matthew 1:9). We learn about a man’s attitude to law both from what he says in certain circumstances, from how he interprets the law and from his actions in applying law. St Joseph has no word of his recorded in the Gospels. Therefore, we learn about his being a Man of Law from how he interpreted the law and how he applied it when it was necessary — both the civil law and his inherited Abrahamic and Davidic law. Joseph listened faithfully to the whisperings of God in his heart. He lived the words of Jeremiah, “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33). As a just man he knew and understood the law and was guided by it as is evidenced in his life.
Law is necessary in any society for the wellbeing of the society and its individuals. It enshrines the purposes of the society and the structures needed to attain those purposes. It establishes the rights of the members and their corresponding obligations. We learn that law needs to be interpreted according to the understanding of its time and then applied to the situation that arises. The longstanding rule of law allows for a strict application or a more lenient application when circumstances demand. Law needs to be applied with compassion according to the seriousness of actions in order to avoid marginalisation of persons, but it needs to be strictly applied when there is serious damage to others or society.
St Joseph, a son of David, belonged to the Messianic line. He was born in Nazareth and espoused to Mary, a virgin, who, during the time of betrothal, was found to be with child. At that time the penalty for a woman found to be pregnant out of wedlock was to be removed from society. Usually, the removal from society was accomplished by stoning the woman to death. Joseph knew the law, but as Matthew writes, Joseph “being a man of honour and wanting to spare her publicity, decided to divorce her informally”: (Matthew 1:19-20). He truly applied the law with generosity, leniency and love. He then had a dream in which he heard the injunction, “Do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20). Joseph was now the foster father of the Messiah, the One who had been foretold for generations and awaited as a descendant of King David.

Thank you for contributing to the Cathedral collections this week:

Parish $ 864.00
Presbytery $1,202.45

Any queries or concerns, or to make a contribution, please contact the Parish Office or email Finance Officer Kerrie.

Reflection on the Readings

A personal call to a particular a way of life is not always easy to explain, even to oneself. At my religious profession, I chose the challenging motto “To give without counting the cost”. I have taken that motto seriously, even if I have been tempted to change it to something more manageable. Today’s liturgy calls me back to what that commitment entails: I have come to realise that, in a very real sense, it encapsulates the gospel call to all the baptised. The first reading describes a prophetic call, the “call” of the young Samuel who is to become a prophet of great stature within Israel. The story insists that it is God who takes the initiative while Samuel hears God’s call. Initially Samuel hears the word of God, but needs an interpreter in order to understand the import of God’s word to him. Eli acts as interpreter and guide, so that Samuel can respond with confidence and faith and grow up to speak God’s word to the people.

The gospel focuses on the “call” to discipleship, a call that is addresses to every baptised Christian. The opening scene depicts John the Baptiser with two of his disciples. John actually points the two disciples away from himself and towards Jesus whom he identifies as “the lamb of God”. What does it mean to call Jesus “God’s lamb”? Does the expression refer to the Passover lamb whose blood signifies deliverance? Is it a reference to the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53 who takes on the sins of the many? Is it an image of the lamb that God provides for Abraham’s sacrifice (Genesis 22)? Is it the apocalyptic lamb of Jewish literature of the time, the powerful conquering lamb that destroys evil in the world? Is it intended to suggest vulnerability as in the prophecy of Jeremiah 11:19 (“I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter”).

There is never a simple explanation for the symbolism in John’s gospel. There can be many levels of meaning at the one time. The symbol of strength in vulnerability certainly has potential for understanding who Jesus is in this gospel. John 1:29 tells us that the Lamb of God “takes away” the sinful condition of the world. Twenty-one centuries down the track there is still violence and hunger and exploitation of planetary resources on a massive scale. The work of the one strong enough to risk vulnerability so that others may have life, the work of God’s Lamb, is also the work of disciples. It is the way of those who hear God’s call and choose to walk the way of Jesus of Nazareth, in openness and love for God’s people. The call to discipleship is a call to pour out one’s lifeblood for the sake of the gospel, “to give without counting the cost”. Maybe I should not be too ready to relinquish my motto!

-Veronica Lawson RSM

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