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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.


31st October, 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

* * * * * *
Sunday Masses with up to 150 in attendance in the
Cathedral and 120 in the SPC Chapel

(bookings are not required to attend these Masses but full vaccination status needs to be provided upon entry)

St Patrick’s Cathedral
6.30pm Vigil




St Pa
trick’s College Chapel  
1431 Sturt St Ballarat
Weekday Masses will be celebrated in the Cathedral
When the limit is indicated for 30 people, no vaccination status is required

Monday - All Saints Day - 7.30am (30), 10.00am

Tuesday - All Souls Day - 7.30am (30), 10.00am

Wednesday - 10.00pm

Thursday - 10.00am

Friday                            12.05pm                      11.30am Reconciliation
Saturday                        10.00am                      10.30am Reconciliation

It will no longer ne necessary to book for Sunday Masses.
Upon entry to the Cathedral, masks are still required to be worn. Please register with the QR Code and also with the COVID-19 Marshall who will verify your vaccination status

Celebrations of the sacrament of Baptism will continue to take place each Sunday, spread throughout the afternoon with each family gathering for the baptism of their child in groups of 30.

When someone’s vaccination status is unknown, there is a limit of 30 people able to attend Mass. Aware that not everyone will be fully vaccinated, our parishes will each offer one Mass during the week where no vaccination status will be required. Thirty people will be able to attend and it will be a requirement to book in with the respective parish. These Masses will commence on Monday November 8th.

10.00am at St Patrick’s Cathedral (53 312 933)

9.30am at St Michael’s Bungaree (53 340 450)

9.30am at St Aloysius’ Redan (0455 212 123)

10.00am at OLHC Wendouree (53 392 302)

9.30am at St Alipius’ Ballarat East (53 326 611)

Please note:  All Mass attendees are required to:

* Wear a mask
* Check in via QR Code and check in on the registration list provided
* Use hand sanitiser on your way into the Cathedral

* * * * *
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:   31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

First: Deuteronomy 6:2-6   Second: Hebrews 7:23-28

Gospel:    Mark 12:28-34

Readings for next week: 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

First: 1 Kings 17:10-16    Second: Hebrews 9:24-28

Gospel:    Mark 12:38-44

Janet Jones OAM, Tony Liston

Jeffrey Ainley
Fred Coppock
Mary Coulter
John Elliott
Lila Gallagher
Carmel Garvey
Frances Harrison
William Hayes
Connor Hubble
Patricia Hughes
Lorna James
William Kennedy
Paul Laffey
Veronica Loader
Claire McGoldrick

Aaron Muir
Mons Henry Nolan
Ronald Oakley
Ethel O'Brien
Edward Schreenan

Rose Schreenan
Lena Sharp
Valda Simpson
Lilian Taafe
Molly Taffe
Peter Walker
Carlene Weickhardt

This weekend, we welcome to our Parish through the Sacrament of Baptism:

Olivia Jane, Abigail Jeanne and Grace Elizabeth Macura
children of Luke and Kayla

"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.

November - Intercession for the dead

Excerpt of the Letter of Pope John Paul II
Indeed, on the day after the feast of All Saints, when the Church joyfully celebrates the communion of saints and human salvation, St. Odilo urged his monks to say special prayers for all the dead, thus mysteriously contributing to their entry into beatitude; the custom of solemnly interceding for the dead in a celebration which St. Odilo called All  Souls Day gradually spread from the Abbey of Cluny and is now the practice throughout the universal Church.

In praying for the dead, the Church above all contemplates the mystery of the Resurrection of Christ.

In praying for the dead, the Church above all contemplates the mystery of the Resurrection of Christ, who obtains salvation and eternal life for us through his Cross. Thus with St. Odilo we can ceaselessly repeat: “The Cross is my refuge, my way and my life The Cross is my invincible weapon. The Cross repels all evil. The Cross dispels the darkness”. The Lord’s Cross reminds us that all life is illumined by the light of Easter and that no situation is totally lost, for Christ conquered death and opened the way for us to true life. Redemption “is brought about in the sacrifice of Christ, by which man redeems the debt of sin and is reconciled to God” (Tertio millennio adveniente, n. 7).
As we come closer to COVID-19 restrictions being eased and gathering numbers increasing with each stage of Victoria's Roadmap: Delivering the National Plan, we can look forward to the Confirmation preparation program continuing to completion and celebrations taking place.

Families who began the preparation with their children will be contact in the coming week with further details.

Any queries or concerns, please contact Anita at the Parish Office.

Position Vacant: 
Cathedral Halls Caretaker (Part time)

This position provides weekday cleaning services for the St Patrick’s Hall, MacKillop/Glowrey Rooms, Toilets and Kitchen as well as ensuring that supplies are maintained, resetting of the hall and rooms to the default setting when needed, emptying of rubbish bins and assisting with the set up of the hall/rooms when directed.

The Hall and MacKillop and Glowrey rooms are used by a variety of groups on weekdays, evenings and weekends. Some user groups are internal to the Cathedral Parish, others are external user groups as well as Catholic Education Ballarat.
Please contact the Parish Office for further information or to express your interest in this position.

Church’s need for inward and
outward-looking focus
The first general assembly of the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia has now ended, however, the work of discernment, listening and discussion has not. Plenary members from across Australia, including 17 from the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, will continue to ponder the agenda questions and the discussions of the past week, as they work toward the second gathering in July 2022.
Fr Kevin Lenehan, Master of Catholic Theological College attended the assembly as a member representing the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne. He was also part of the team that drafted the Instrumentum Laboris, the ‘working document’, which drew together the voices of more than 220,000 Australians who participated in the Listening and Dialogue and Listening and Discernment phrases of the plenary council.
During the assembly last week, Fr Kevin offered an “intervention”, an official statement that is tabled during the gathering which provides members an opportunity to share what is on their hearts with the broader assembly. In that intervention, Fr Kevin wrote:

I resonate with those voices asking for more explicit attention to be given in the agenda topics and questions for the “ad extra” dimensions of the Church’s mission in Australian society. As we’ve heard, the Church is called to live out in each context Jesus’ ministry of the kingdom and reign of God.

The awareness of the urgent challenges of the Church’s outreach to all aspects of Australian society, especially the marginalised and vulnerable, was strongly articulated in the first phase of consultation and its final report, in the individual diocesan reports, in the six discernment theme papers, in chapter four of the Instrumentum Laboris and in the reports from the second phase of consultation.

While some topics of outreach and care, for example, care for creation, participation of First Nations Peoples, work of social services agencies, are mentioned under the six agenda topics, there is need for greater emphasis on the Church’s role in the promotion of just, humane and responsible conditions in societies, as expressed in the social teaching of the Church. Would the generations of St Vincent de Paul conference members and workers, who have kept many an Australian from destitution and worse, recognise their work of care in the agenda questions?

The proposal as outlined in an
open letter from the Chair of Catholic Social Services Victoria for an additional agenda topic on “Justice and Equity” is worthy of consideration, although perhaps too narrowly defined. It is not practical to redesign the whole program and method of the agenda, but I endorse the call to find ways in the agenda for more specific attention to the Church’s mission of outreach, service and care for all people and for the Earth.
Speaking with Fr Kevin about his intervention and his experience of the Plenary Council assembly, he said, ‘When we gather as the Church it’s important that we look both inwards – at what’s going on in the life of the Church itself; things like ministry, liturgy, formation and Christian life – but also, that we look outwards.’

‘In all of our Plenary Council discussions, I think we need to be very conscious of that “outward-looking” focus and engagement. What contribution does the Church bring into the world around us, like work, the economy, the digital culture and information society, social support and social care, issues of food security and health? In Australia particularly, there is a strong awareness of the health and lifestyle opportunities that impact our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.’

He added, ‘In a way that took me back to the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s where early on in the council a fairly major decision was made to look at both the Church’s inner life or self-understanding and also the Church’s relationship with the world and engagement with the world.’

The careful choreography of plenary

The First Assembly of the Fifth Plenary Council held few surprises. The program made sure of it. Proceedings were carefully choreographed and the agenda was deliberately anodyne. It took several days before participants found their feet. The ‘deep listening’ process of scripture reflection and sharing in small groups did engender a spirit of collegiality. At the same time, it constrained free flowing discussion and overwhelmed any effective canvassing of the issues confronting the Church. The upshot was a week devoid of strategic focus.

Given that so much time was spent on prayerful reflection, not enough was available to the task at hand. The Catholic community had supplied 17,500 submissions in an initial consultation phase. Yet the Plenary was not presented with any report on what those submissions contained, nor was it presented with any draft resolutions from the submissions. It can only be assumed that the Bishops Steering Group deemed the submissions to be of insignificant value to the Assembly. The expert theologians, scripture scholars, canonists and public policy advisors were kept at a distance. It was if the participants were meant to start from scratch.

What did emerge was the diversity of views over the role and purpose of the Church. Again, no surprise there! Though more important was the lack of clarity over the actual starting point for the conversation. Participants were constantly reminded that Pope Francis was calling for a Church motivated by a ‘missionary impulse’. It seemed fair to assume therefore that the task was to imagine what that looks like for the Church now and into the future. Yet the daily feedback from the working groups roamed far and wide from personal devotional practices all the way to cutting edge pastoral outreach. Again, no surprises when you give Catholics free rein!

The situation would be less distressing if there had been an overt recognition of the crisis the Church faces. A crisis that is both of its own making and one that prompts questions about religious belief in our world today. This crisis needs to be addressed by the Plenary Council in two fundamental areas: internal organisation and pastoral disposition. On the first, the organisational life of the Church has already been the subject of intense scrutiny by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. One of the seventeen volumes of the Final Report dealt specifically with the Catholic Church. It contained clear recommendations for governance and culture. Following this, the bishops and religious leaders commissioned a two-year study that produced The Light From the Southern Cross report into governance and cultural issues. These two reports outline a similar roadmap for change. But the elephant in the room is the authority of bishops.

Evaluating plenary:
One journey ends, another begins

Ten days after the conclusion of the first Assembly of the Plenary Council each member was sent an Evaluation Form to complete. As well as reflecting on our experience we were asked to consider how we would complete the phrase ‘It would have been good if…’. The authorities told us that our responses would help to plan the second Assembly.

In my own response I noted that the working of the first Assembly itself could not be separated from the preparations for it. These preparations got us to the Assembly starting point and that point shaped where we halted.

The preparation for the second Assembly is very much a case of ‘Here we go again’. We are replicating a previous journey and we must learn the lessons in a way which improves the whole experience. The quality of the second Assembly will depend upon it.  

The nine-month journey from the Working Document to the first Assembly Agenda Questions looks to me very much like the similar length journey which faces us from now to next July.

The ingredients are very similar. There are inputs, internal mechanisms such as committees to process the inputs, and finally outputs.

Prior to the first Assembly there were the 17,500 submissions from the faithful of Australia. These were then summarised in national and diocesan reports from the National Centre for Pastoral Research of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC). The first subsequent dilution came with the work of the six Writing and Discernment groups organised around themes chosen by the Plenary Council authorities. Following this stage a four-person drafting committee produced the Working Document (Instrumentum Laboris). The final step was again taken by the PC authorities themselves, producing the 16 Agenda Questions, which shaped the Assembly itself. These questions were then distributed for discernment across ten small groups of about thirty members each.

The regular calls for greater transparency in this process by reform groups were not a theoretical synodal exercise, but a practical attempt to improve the outcomes of the process by opening it up to wider scrutiny. Those in responsible positions, such as the Bishops Commission, the Executive Committee and the Facilitation Team, failed to seek the assistance of the wider Catholic community. Good process was ignored, and it showed in the limits in the final outcomes.

The process is now starting again with same people in charge. The major exception is that the Steering Committee, largely a group of bishops (five out of six ex-officio members, plus 2-3 chairpersons and two facilitators), which governed the First Assembly, has now been joined by a Drafting Committee, whose responsibility is to produce draft motions to be voted on at the second assembly. This committee, which will perform a crucial role, comprises five people selected by the authorities: Bishops Paul Bird (Ballarat) and Shane Mackinlay (Sandhurst, Deputy President of the PC), Professor Renee Kohler-Ryan, Head of the School of Philosophy and Theology, Notre Dame University, Rev Dr Stephen Mellor, Dean of St Stephen’s Cathedral, Brisbane, and Dr Sandie Cornish, Leader of the Justice, Peace and Ecology Office for ACBC.

Very Special Kids was established in 1985 and became the first support organisation in Victoria designed to offer assistance to families of children with life-threatening conditions.

In 1985, Loreto Sister Margaret Noone (pictured above) was the organisation’s first employee, becoming the Director and then eventually the Patron of Very Special Kids.

11 November 2021

Are you interested in volunteering for Very Special Kids? Come along to our next virtual information session to hear more.
Learn about the different ways you can donate your time to Very Special Kids, and help kids with life-limiting conditions and their families.

Follow this link for more information.

Reflection on the anniversary of the National Apology 2021

by Helen Last, a consultant and advocate working with survivors of institutional abuse

This year's anniversary calls us together again to be a motivated national group to consider further work for healing of survivors and institutions. There are still pastoral needs for our attention.

  • The need to recognise national "mourning" processes for the generations that have experienced trauma, violence, injury and loss inflicted by those in positions of greater power.  This is at the heart of the government’s Apology.

  • To reach out to the partners, families and children of those who have died through illness, deprivation or suicide. To provide rituals of grief and loss.

  • To build communal honouring of the truth of each and every person directly abused who carry their stories. These sacred stories deserve to be recorded and files archived.

  • Create a map to recognise the geographical, social and institutional links between individual survivors, their families, schools and church communities. The map would address the silence and isolation of victims and motivate networks for change.

  • Dedicate places close to cities or regional centres to install memorials so that survivor history is not frozen in time. These memorials should be placed in public spaces and outside cathedrals to reinforce the continuing call for justice and recognition that survivors’ lives matter.

There is so much more to be done together. Creative and spiritual reforms are needed now and for future generations. Let’s link up to get this done!


Thank you for contributing to the Cathedral collections this week:

Parish $910.00
Presbytery $894.40

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

Gospel Reflection

In today’s gospel reading we encounter a good scribe, while in next week’s we find some not so good scribes. This seems to fit the pattern of the Markan gospel. There are faithful disciples and not so faithful disciples. There are honest Jewish leaders like Joseph of Arimathea and not so honest leaders like those who try to entrap Jesus. There are principled Romans like the centurion who witnesses the death of Jesus and not so principled Romans like Pilate who condemns him to death.

Goodness and fitness for the “kin-dom” or “empire of God” are never guaranteed, according to the Markan schema, by status or position or call or ethnicity or gender or by any other contingency of existence. Everyone has choices. For a Jew, the first and best choice is to love the God of Israel with one’s whole being and then to love one’s neighbour as oneself. Jesus and his questioner are agreed on that. Jesus is presented in today’s gospel as a Jew who knows and observes the Law of Moses. He wins the respect of the scribe, a specialist in the Law, who has overheard him debating with the Sadducees.

Jesus recognises the sincerity of the scribe and takes seriously the question that this teacher of the Law puts to him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” He responds in the words of the “Shema Israel” from Deuteronomy 6, today’s first reading. Love of God comes first. It is a love that derives from gratitude for God’s liberating action in the lives of God’s people. Israel has known the unconditional love of God. Those who know anything about human behaviour would probably agree that the experience of unconditional love engenders an increased capacity for love. For the Jews, including those who throw in their lot with Jesus the Jewish Galilean, to love one’s neighbour is to keep the second commandment of Leviticus 19:18, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself”.

In first-century Judaism, love of God was expressed in worship and in the prayers and rituals of daily life. Love of others likewise found expression in action, not only in care of family and close friends, but also in support of “the poor and the needy and the stranger.” To seek peace was also a feature of neighbourly love. To accept and follow such a program is to be, with the scribe, “not far from” God’s kin-dom or empire. Contemporary sensibilities might lead us to include the other-than-human among the neighbours or “kin” we are called to love. If we learn to love the earth and all that inhabits it, the human community, the birds and the beasts, the plants and the soil, the sky and the sea, then these words of Jesus might truly find a home in our hearts: “You are not far from the kin-dom of God”.

Veronica Lawson RSM

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