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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.



14th March 2021

3 Lyons St Sth Ballarat

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

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.

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Prayer and the Worship in the Cathedral this week

Monday 15th March
8.00am Morning Prayer
10.00am Mass
10.30am Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament
5.30pm  Evening Prayer

Tuesday 16th March
8.00am Morning Prayer
10.00am Mass   
5.30pm   Evening Prayer

Wednesday 17th March   
8.00am Morning Prayer
9.30am St Patrick's Primary School Mass
11.30am Anointing Mass    
5.30pm    Evening Prayer

Thursday 18th March
8.00am Morning Prayer
10.00am Mass    
5.30pm   Evening Prayer

Friday 19th March
8.00am Morning Prayer
10.00am Mass
10.30am Reconciliation
5.30pm Evening Prayer

Saturday 20th March
10.00am Mass
10.30am Reconciliation

A reminder that masks should be worn when in the Cathedral please.

Readings for this week:  Fourth Sunday of Lent

First:  2 Chronicles 36:14-16. 19-23        Second:   Ephesians 2:4-10

Gospel:   John 3:14-21

Readings for next week: Fifth Sunday of Lent

First:  Jeremiah 31:31-34       Second:   Hebrews 5:7-9

Gospel:   John 12:20-33

Having completed preparation through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Children (RCIC) process, which began before COVID lockdowns in 2020, this weekend we welcome to our Parish through the
Sacrament of Baptism:

Meg and Sam Anderson, children of Ross and Michelle
Lewis and Rubi Carbone, children of Matthew and Sally
Oscar, Oliver and Otis Hullo, children of Stephen and Angela
Amelia and Thomas Mulcock, children of Brett and Samantha
Brodie Stephens, son of Trent and Corrina

We also welcome to our Parish through the Sacrament of Baptism:

Lincoln and Parker Stainer, children of Adam and Kate
Landon Earnshaw, son of Bridgette
“The Church gives the faith to your children through Baptism and you have the task to make it grow…” Pope Francis.

May these children grow in faith with the support of their
families and our Catholic Community.

Trevor Conlan, Sheila Forster


Carmel Ainley
Christine Austin
John Callahan
Margaret Julia Callanan
Edward Campion
Basil Dawson
Ronald Digman
Dmytro Dziuba
Anne Hellyar
Charlotte Holmes
William Holmes
Boleslaw Kasek
Eileen Kennedy
James Kenney
Lilian Maguire
Mary McCluskey
Raymond McCluskey
Tom Meich
Anne Morrison
Lucille O'Brien
Kathleen O'Donnell
Leanne Mary Payne
Brian Joseph Rice
Shirley Robertson
Harry Strik
Michael Spiers
Bernie Wilkie
Albert Windray

Fourth Sunday of Lent -  14th March 2021

Arsad, an Indonesian farmer, had no toilet, so he and his family always had to walk into the forest to an open defecation area.

His family was often sick and open defecation caused many neighbourhood disputes.

With the support of Caritas Australia and its partner, Laz Harfa, Arsad took part in hygiene, sanitation and financial management training. He then funded the building of a toilet in his house and helped other community members to save for toilets.

Now Arsad’s family is healthier. Their community no longer practices open defecation and is more harmonious. Arsad inspired his community to ‘Be More.’

Please donate to Project Compassion 2021 and help improve health and wellbeing of communities in Indonesia so they can work towards eradicating poverty, providing a better future for all.

You can donate through Parish boxes and envelopes, by visiting Caritas here or phoning 1800 024 413.
Sacraments of Initiation
Reconciliation Part 1 (junior)
At Masses this weekend (Saturday 6.30pm Vigil, Sunday 10.30am and 5.00pim) we welcome children preparing for Reconciliation Part 1 (junior) to be celebrated on 23rd and 24th March.

Please keep these children and their families in your prayeres.

For further details about the Sacramental preparation programs in the Cathedral Parish, please call Parish Office during office hours.

Wednesday March 17th

We will celebrate the feast of our patron, St Patrick with various events throughout the day.
Morning Prayer at the Cathedral, followed by breakfast at a local café.

St Patrick’s Primary School will celebrate Mass with students and staff.

St Patrick’s College will celebrate Mass with Bishop Paul and commission       their new Principal Steven O’Connor for his ministry of leadership at St Pat’s.

11.30am      Mass in the Cathedral with Anointing of the sick and seniors

5.30pm            Evening Prayer of the Church in the Cathedral.

Due the Covid-19 restrictions in place, for the safety of all we regret that we are unable to offer hospitality in our Parish facilities at this time.

This year, Harmony Fest 2021 will be celebrated from 12 March to 28 March and is jam-packed with events for the whole family - click here for the program:
St Patrick. The Forgotten Contemplative

St Patrick’s Day has always been one of my favourites and not for the right reason. My Lenten experience is nothing great at the best of times but St Paddy gives me an undeserved break from the Lenten disciplines. This year, however, I’m going to approach him a bit differently.

St Patrick’s Day is often a raucous affair and on this feast we are permitted to ease our fasting (and you should, so go ahead). But instead of withdrawing from the Lenten desert entirely, maybe we should see Patrick as the perfect Lenten saint who puts this ‘desert’ season in perspective.

I know as moderns we love the city. We love its thriving street culture, its promise of opportunity, its restaurants and bars and bookshops. The idea of a city has a captivating allure to it. They become monuments of our infrastructural and cultural achievements. The desert, though, is a revered space in the biblical tradition. It is the place of exile and of wandering, yes, but also the place of freedom from the allure of false gods. It is the place where we encounter the living God.

Read this reflection by Christian Bergmann here

Discerning the future of the Church in Australia

WEDNESDAY 17 MARCH 2021, 09:00 AM LONDON (08.00 PM AEDT)

Please join us for a discussion with Christopher Lamb and Archbishops Timothy Costelloe and Mark Coleridge on Australia’s landmark plenary council, the highest form of gathering for a local Church.
The council is one of the leading examples of synodality in today’s Church, an attempt to implement a vision of Spirit-led renewal which brings people, priests and bishops together in mission. “Synodality”, according to Pope Francis, “is what the Lord expects of the Church of the third millennium.”
The webinar offers a unique opportunity to hear about the hopes and dreams for the future of the Church in Australia, and the lessons it offers for global Catholicism.
Ticket price:
£12.50 inclusive of VAT
To book your ticket visit The Tablet Shop

All proceeds from this event will go to The Tablet's Development Fund.
This discussion will take place via Zoom. You will need to download the Zoom app here onto your device to be able to join the call. Full details of how to join the call will be sent in the days before the event.

Catholic women invited to national consultation
Catholic women are invited to participate in a national consultation with two bishops and to mark their diaries for a national gathering in September.  The national consultation, which will take place on March 27 via Zoom, invites women to articulate and celebrate their contribution to and vision for the mission of the Catholic Church in Australia.

More information can be found here.

Out in front: Leadership and Catholic women

Australian Catholic University presents this panel presentation and round table discussion

17 March 2021, 6:30 PM - 9:00 PM
Online: Free to participate
An evening of theologically informed conversation about Catholic women in leadership across a range of organisations. With alumnae from the first iteration of the Leadership for Mission program in dialogue with other women and men in leadership roles in the Church, we will reflect on how leadership today implies “leading from the front, from the middle and from the back.”

Speakers include:
Maeve Heaney, Sophie Cox, Margaret Vider, Natalia Teguhputri, Sarah McGuire and Anthony Mellor

More information can be found here.

Giving women the opportunities to thrive

This week as part of International Women’s Day we were asked to challenge gender inequality in our day-to-day lives, to call out discrimination and to demand real change. We were asked to challenge gender biases not just in others, but also in ourselves, because we all play a part in creating and sustaining the cultural norms that influence or limit women’s equality.
As a female CEO of an international development NGO, I see the challenges women face both here and across the world. In our office, I’m proud to say that both men and women rush off to pick up their kids from school, and women are in the rooms where decisions are made at every level of the organisation. Just as we do in our projects internationally, we try to create an environment where expectations aren’t set by gender but rather by interests, talents and passions. This is difficult work, but the onus is on all of us to keep having the hard conversations that allow us to re-imagine a world in which women’s equality is a reality.  
Empowering women and girls is also one of the most cost-effective and sustainable ways to promote positive change in a community, whether here in Australia or overseas. When girls are supported to receive an education, they are more able to earn an income for themselves and their family. The children of educated women have better health outcomes, are more likely to go to and stay in school, and are more likely to have access to a diverse range of food. These impacts will last long after development organisations have left.

Read this article by Kirsty Robinson (CEO of Caritas Australia) in Eureka Street here.

Catholic Church 'has no future' without women
Image:  Zuzanna Flisowska, left, with Barbara Dorris, an abuse survivor, centre and Virginia Saldanha, right, pictured in Rome in 2019.
CNS photo/Paul Haring

Women of faith celebrated International Women’s day on Monday with discussions on women’s future in the Catholic Church and by exploring if women have been written out of scripture.
“We are talking about the survival of the Church,” said Joanna Moorhead, The Tablet’s Arts editor, who has written widely on the subject of women in the Church for publications including The Guardian, The Observer and The Times.
She told more than 200 participants in The Tablet’s webinar, Do Women have a future in the Catholic Church? that the issue was no longer a women’s issue but an issue for everyone. The question is – does the Church have a future without women?
“Of course it doesn't. The church has no future without us,” she stated. She also noted the implications of younger catholic women falling away as the Church needs a membership to survive.
During The Tablet’s webinar, Zuzanna Flisowska-Caridi of Voices of Faith recounted her experience of the German Church’s synodal path of reform.
The process has brought together lay people, religious and bishops to discuss four major topics: the way power is exercised in the Church; sexual morality; the priesthood; and the role of women in ministries and offices in the Church.
Zuzanna Flisowska-Caridi, who is part of the commission working on women’s issues, described her experience in Germany as “quite extraordinary”.
She said: “Obviously, the process has its limits. But for me, it's been a really wonderful experience in which lay people, theologians, male and, and female, religious sisters, are all sitting together at the one table, and they're really trying not to have this hierarchical view. Everyone has his or her voice.
“There are obstacles because we have different opinions but to see a religious sister having a sincere and honest discussion with a bishop, perhaps they’re not on the same page, perhaps they will not find the common point, but I think it’s a huge step forward that they sit there, and he is obliged to listen to her.”

Read this article by Sarah MacDonald from the UK Tablet here.

CEO Sheree Limbrick writes:

Welcome to the March 2021 Edition of ACSL NEWS - you may notice this has arrived a little earlier in your inbox that usual, and that's because we didn't want to wait to share with you our new brand identity!  Representing the many elements that contribute to creating a Safe Church (people, resources, knowledge, leadership, culture) as well as the piecing together of former entities to create one coherent national body in ACSL, we hope our logo conveys the message that we are all working together to create a Safe Church for all.

The threads of the expanded responsibilities of ACSL are coming together as you will read in this edition - we have information on the transition of the Australian Catholic Ministry Register (ACMR) and professional standards/complaints response into ACSL, along with training opportunities, new resources, and updates on our safeguarding audit provision.
There is also important information in this edition from the Board of ACSL as they work to set the strategic directions and operational priorities for ACSL.  This month we also commence a series of Board Profiles - in this and the next two editions of ACSL NEWS you'll hear more from the Board Directors about their journey to ACSL, their hopes for the work of the company and their vision for a Safe Church.

The complete edition of the ACSL March newsletter can be accessed here.
Punishment alone will not prevent crime: Holy See

Archbishop Paul Gallagher (Vatican News)

The Vatican's Secretary for Relations with States has urged national governments to combine the rule of law, crime prevention and criminal justice, rather than merely doling out punishment. Source: Vatican News.
Speaking at the 14th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Kyoto, Japan, Archbishop Paul Gallagher said the implementation of the rule of law “is essential to achieve a true integral human development”.
The former nuncio to Australia added that preventing and responding to criminal activities “is closely interrelated with the respect for, and protection of, universal human rights”.
He acknowledged that crime draws its vitality “from economic and social inequalities, as well as from corruption, claiming victims especially among those in vulnerable situations”.
The pandemic, he noted, has only made this situation worse.
Archbishop Gallagher also said “crime prevention must not be reduced to its punitive aspects” and that, as emphasised by Pope Francis, “it is essential to go further and do everything possible to reform, improve and educate the person”.

Read this article in the Vatican News here.
Ballarat Diocese Lay Pastoral Ministry -
Virtual Learning Program

Our partners, Dayton University offer low-cost online study and formation for employed or volunteer lay workers in parish and other ministries. Study subjects over 3 and 5 week cycles. Study Cycle 3 begins 11th April. This cycle is mostly 3 week courses. Registrations are now open for new and returning participants. For more information go to or email or  5337 7121.
Focus on human relationships needed for aged and mental health care   

Last week two Royal Commissions with overlapping themes delivered their findings. The Federal Government Royal Commission into Aged Care for the ageing was appropriately painstaking and complex. Its findings were also complex, with the two Commissioners differing on central points. Many of the eventual recommendations were also opposed in submissions by Government Departments and the Minister. The findings were received cautiously by the Prime Minister. The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System was shorter and less detailed but no less ambitious. It was accepted enthusiastically in its entirety by the Victorian Premier.

Read all of this article by Fr Andrew Hamilton SJ here.


Thank you for contributing to the Cathedral collections this week:

Parish $1,250.05
Presbytery $1,027.65

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

Gospel Reflection

The gospel for today is the concluding section of Jesus’ conversation with a Pharisee called Nicodemus who comes to him “by night”. It features a number of typically Johannine themes: life, eternal life, believing, seeing, God’s love, salvation, judgment, light, darkness, the world, truth. John loves to play on words. Without losing sight of the material reality underlying each image, we need to keep asking: how is this word or expression to be understood in this particular context? In John’s gospel, the characters often misunderstand and this gives Jesus the opportunity to lead his hearers to a deeper or different understanding of his words.

As 21st century readers, we operate out of a symbol system that belongs in a different time and a different place. Hence the need to explore the traditions informing the stories. The first two verses of today’s reading evoke the ancient Israelite tradition of the bronze serpent (Numbers 21:5-9). According to the story, the Israelites are unhappy with their lot in the desert. They complain about the food or lack thereof. They blame both God and Moses. Their situation worsens with the outbreak of a plague of poisonous snakes whose bite has killed a considerable number of them. The people interpret the plague as punishment for their sin of speaking against God. They ask Moses to intercede with God. God instructs Moses to make an image of a fiery serpent and set it on a pole: anyone affected by snakebite has only to look upon the image to find life and healing. And so it happens: the bronze serpent is lifted up and those who “see” or “look upon it” find life.

Life and death, seeing and believing in God’s love and mercy are at the heart of the story of the bronze serpent. The gospel writer taps into the collective memory of the emerging Christian community: just as the serpent was lifted up and the people found life, so will Jesus be lifted up and those who believe in him will find life. In John’s gospel, seeing is often equated with believing and believing leads to “life”.

The bottom line is God’s saving love for “the world”, for the whole Earth community, human and other-than-human. Most of the themes in this passage have already been introduced in the prologue to the gospel. Here for the first time in the gospel, God’s saving activity is expressed in terms of “love”. God’s love is explicitly related to the gift of Jesus, God’s Son, for the salvation of the world. Salvation resides in acceptance of Jesus while judgment is the refusal to accept Jesus as the revelation of God. Later in this gospel (12:33), Jesus will again reference the bronze serpent story in an expansive embrace of all creation: “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all to myself.”

Veronica Lawson RSM
The astonishing life of
St Joseph – Spouse of Mary and Father of Jesus

Robert Falzon reflects on how St Joseph may have responded to his astonishing call to be the foster-father of Jesus and spouse of Mary.

What does it mean for fathers and husbands in today’s world? Joseph, son of Jacob, was born in Bethlehem and was a descendant of King David (Matt 1). He lived in Nazareth in Galilee, where he worked as a craftsman/tradesman, often referred to as a carpenter. He was married to Mary, daughter of Joachim; he had been to the father of Mary and paid the “dower” with the promise of marriage, but had not taken her into his home yet, as was the custom. Mary, a few months into her betrothal, rushed off to the high country in Judea just outside Jerusalem to visit her relative Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John. It was the first of several astonishing events. The rumors started. Why had she gone during her time of waiting for Joseph to come for her? What had happened? Was something wrong? Mary returned about three months later and the lifechanging news was brought to Joseph. His betrothed spouse was pregnant! 2 Can you imagine what he was going through and thinking? “How could she do this? What could have happened? Why? Who? What will I do?” He decided to divorce her quietly because he was unwilling to expose her to public disgrace and possible stoning (Matt 1:19). Then, in the midst of this drama, an angel appeared to Joseph and told him that the child was the Son of God! Conceived by the Holy Spirit. Remarkably, he obeys God’s messenger and takes Mary as his spouse, into his home. Doing this, Joseph completes the marriage, gives Mary his name and becomes the father of the child in her womb.

Read all of this reflection by Robert Falzon here.
In commemoration of the Year of St Joseph, a 10 minute
Devotion to St Joseph will start on Friday 19th March (the Feast of St Joseph),   then every Wednesday at 9.40am before Mass.

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