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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 February 2021

3 Lyons St Sth Ballarat

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

On Mondays the Parish Office is closed.

Masses will be livestreamed from St John of God Hospital Chapel at 10.00am this Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Ash Wednesday

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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Readings for this week:  Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

First:  Leviticus  13: 1-2. 44-46  Second:  1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1

Gospel:  Mark 1:40-45

Readings for next week:  Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

First:    Genesis 9:8-15           Second:   Peter 3:18-22

Gospel:   Mark 1:12-15

Bronislawa Ammon, Iris Buczkowsky, Rocky Hazlett, Joan Thomas


Verna Aldenhoven
Frank Benson
Kiah Buckle
Agnes Coughlan
Gordon Fox
Audrey Gonsalves
Nicholas Gowans
Patricia Green
Raymond Grundell
Helena Izydorczk
Stanislaw Izydorczyk
Michael Kershaw
Dezse Magyar
Christopher Mahar
Kevin Martin
Robert McMahon
John McNulty
Nell Nunn
Roderick O'Keefe
Jeffrey Rowe
Francis Ryan
Eunice Twomey
Bryce van der Linden
A message from Bishop Paul

Hello Everyone,

As you may have seen on the news today, in response to recent coronavirus infections, the Victorian government has introduced a 5-day lockdown for the whole state. This will come into effect at midnight tonight, Friday, February 12, and continue until midnight on Wednesday, February 17.

During these days, no public gatherings are permitted. This includes gatherings for religious ceremonies. Under the “Ceremonies and religious gatherings” heading, the government’s summary says: “No in-person gatherings permitted. Broadcast permitted.” The major gatherings affected will be the Sunday Masses that would have been celebrated this weekend and the Ash Wednesday services that would have been celebrated next Wednesday.

In relation to funerals, the government summary indicates that funerals (either indoor or outdoor) may involve no more than 10 people, plus those necessary to conduct the funeral.

For the coming five days, we will not be able to gather in our churches for Masses or other ceremonies. However, we will still be able to pray at home and there are resources available to help us in this.

I note in particular the page on our diocesan website that provides a list of links to Masses online and links to Scripture and prayer resources. There are also links to sites with ideas for family activities during lockdown. The page on our diocesan website is here.

People occasionally take time out for a “retreat”, some days of quiet and reflection and prayer. With the requirement to generally stay at home, the coming days will be something of a five-day retreat for everyone in Victoria. While it will involve restrictions, I hope it can be a fruitful time with some extra moments of quiet and reflection and prayer. In this sense, we might count these days as an early start to Lent.

God bless you all.

Bishop Paul Bird CSsR
Bishop of the Diocese of Ballarat
During the five day lockdown we will not be celebrating Masses in the Cathedral which will remain closed until Thursday morning.

We propose to hold the Masses scheduled for Ash Wednesday on Thursday February 18th. These Mass times will be:


Mass will be livestreamed from the Chapel at St John of God Hospital at 10.00am on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Ash Wednesday.

These Masses can be accessed via the Cathedral Parish Facebook page

you will need to be on Facebook and request to be a friend before being able to access the Masses in this way.

Alternatively, the Masses will be posted to the Cathedral Parish website once the Mass has concluded.

The celebrations of children's baptism (RCIC) scheduled for this weekend have been postponed, as well as the full Christian initiation of Marie Prowd. We hope to be able to initiate Marie on the following Sunday, February 21st at the 5.00pm Mass.
The parent information gatherings scheduled for Tuesday February 16th at 10am and 5.30pm have also been postponed.
Ash Wednesday
Livestreamed Mass at 10.00am from the
Chapel at St John of God Hospital

It is proposed to distribute the Ashes at Masses on Thursday,
7.30am, 10.00am, 12.05pm and 7.00pm.
This week the season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, which also marks the beginning of the annual Caritas Australia Project Compassion Appeal. Donations to Project Compassion allows Caritas Australia, the Catholic Agency for International Aid and Development, to work with local communities around the world to alleviate poverty, hunger, oppression and injustice.
We encourage you to put your compassion into action this Lent through your prayer, fasting and almsgiving by supporting Project Compassion. Project Compassion boxes and sets of envelopes for donations will be available in the south transept of the Cathedral when the doors reopen. Alternatively you can donate online via the Caritas Australia website at:

Saint Oscar Romero is our inspiration for Project Compassion 2021, so in his words let’s “Aspire not to have more, but to be more.”
St Thomas More School Alfredton 2021 Opening Mass
Celebrated on Thursday morning, February 11th at 9.15am in the school multipurpose building, the Opening Mass was the first opportunity the school community has had to be together in one place for almost a year! The celebration of the Eucharist with Fr Justin was engaging, with Jeremy Beggs and Tanya Hoffman leading the music and singing in a liturgy that involved many children in ministries (they’re pictured and more photos can be seen on the school’s facebook page). Religious Education Leader, Jayne Mohr, prepared the Mass at which the 56 Year children were commissioned for servant leadership and the 63 Foundation (Prep) students were welcomed. Principal, Simon Duffy, commended all for their engagement in the liturgy

Vinnies urges Government to keep JobSeeker increase

A hand up right now makes good economic sense The National Council of the St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia has called on the Federal Government to implement several key social policy issues that if addressed in the 2021-22 Budget, would significantly improve the lives of many Australians, and stimulate economic growth. National Council President, Claire Victory said such measures include increasing the base rate of the old Newstart payment on an ongoing basis, supporting people who are currently falling through the cracks and increasing access to affordable, safe and energy efficient housing. ‘We know that fiscal stimulus measures are most effective if you ‘go early and go hard’, especially if those measures are directed to households most in need, including those most impacted by the pandemic,’ Ms Victory said. ‘The measures we have outlined in our budget submission support domestic production, target regional disadvantage and provide direct employment and co-benefits. ‘Although the Federal Government’s short-term welfare, cash flow and wage subsidy measures have been welcomed, ongoing support that reflects the losses incurred and is specific and targeted to those who need it most, is now essential,’ Ms Victory said.

Read the full Statement from the Society of St Vincent de Paul here
Expression of Interest for an
‘Aussie’ Camino Pilgrimage

The Aussie Camino is a pilgrimage route running from Portland in Victoria to Penola in South Australia, inspired by the life and journeys of Australia’s first Saint, Mary of the Cross MacKillop and her mentor Fr Julian Tenison Woods.
This year being declared the Year of St Joseph by Pope Francis, is a great opportunity to visit & reflect on the “Josephites or Brown Joeys’; the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart, founded by Saint Mary McKillop in Penola in 1866.
On average, you will walk between 20 & 25 km per day (6 to 8 hours) for the 8 days of walking.  Each day is long, however it is spectacular and is both a spiritual and a human experience.

This Camino includes amazing walks along cliff tops, beaches, sand dunes, goat trails and farm tracks.  Based on the traditions of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain, pilgrims receive a guidebook, passport, scallop shell and stay in the local towns along the way. Fr Justin will accompany the pilgrims.
10 Days – Portland to Penola
Departing Ballarat : Friday 30 April 21
Returning Ballarat: Sunday 09 May 21
Maximum of 12 people.
Please register your interest & attendance at the Info Session via email to Leonie at Lifestyle Travel Ballarat

Commending faith
Most of us find it challenging to engage with people whose philosophies of life differ from and are critical of our own. Christians faced it some years ago when responding the attack by Richard Dawkins and others on belief in God’s existence. Many Christian writers rallied in defence of theism, rebutting their opponents’ arguments and marshalling their own. The defence was appropriate. It reasserted the claim that theism is true as well as beneficial, and also helped reassure people whose belief in God was shaken. It was also, however, strangely dissatisfying. It was like achieving a scoreless draw in a soccer game – saved a necessary point but won no new followers to the team or the game.
Is that the only way to engage with people who hold a life view different to our own? Christians might seek advice from Peter’s first Letter on how to respond to opposed views: ‘Always be prepared to give an account to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.’

The text suggests engaging in conversation rather than confrontation, but not unequivocally. Many translations suggest giving a ‘defence’, and not an ‘account’. ‘Giving a defence’ suggests a discussion that is adversarial and in which defendants focus on themselves and not on the inner world of their conversation partners. ‘Giving an account’, taken together with the commendation of gentleness and respect might suggest an exploratory conversation between equals, each of whom would speak of their personal and operative faith. It would go beyond the logical arguments for their beliefs to explore why they found those arguments persuasive. It would also commit them to an internal conversation which may lead theists to engage with their inner disbeliever.

From this perspective the starting point of such a conversation is not that a theistic view is the only coherent and benign view of the world, nor that it is superior to others. It is that belief in God, as distinct from the belief that God exists, is a gift that is worth exploring and sharing. It takes them beyond a general argument about the existence of God to a personal reflection on why they find their belief in God to be a gift. The conversation also invites their conversation partners to speak of their fundamental vision of the world at the same depth.

Read this article by Fr Andrew Hamilton SJ in Eureka Street here
Australia needs Miriam-Rose’s deep message

“She has continued to call us all to a deep, attentive listening
to the other and to creation.”
Last week, Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann AM was named the 2021 Senior Australian of the Year.
Miriam-Rose has been a friend to Australian Jesuits for many years. In 1986, 12 of us travelled in two minibuses from Sevenhill to Alice Springs where Pope John Paul II was meeting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who gathered at the Centre from all over Australia. We then travelled on to Nauiyu Nambiyu at Daly River to celebrate the centenary of the establishment of the first Jesuit mission there at Uniya by the Austrian Jesuits in 1886.
We were welcomed by Miriam who at the time was President of the local Aboriginal council. She shared with us part of her story, the story of her people.
She told us: “Today, I see my people caught in what I feel is a terrible whirlwind, tossed and trapped in a circle of confusion, frustration, often despair, unable to escape. I myself have been thrown about by that whirlwind. I have felt the confusion, the fear, the helplessness. Yet, in some strange and wonderful way, God is by degrees and ever so gently, lifting me out of the whirlwind.”

Read Fr Frank Brennan's tribute here

Image above: Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann with Frank Brennan SJ
Pope gives first woman right to vote at Synod
Xavière Missionary Sister Nathalie Becquart will not be the first woman undersecretary of a major Vatican office, but she will be the first woman with a right to vote at a meeting of the Synod of Bishops. Pope Francis named the French sister one of two undersecretaries of the Synod of Bishops yesterday. The other undersecretary is Augustinian Father Luis Marin de San Martin, who Pope Francis also named a bishop.
Cardinal Mario Grech, secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops, was asked by Vatican News if Sister Becquart having the right to vote at the synod would open the possibility to other women as well. Although the issue has been raised increasingly in the synod hall, until now only bishops and a few priests and brothers belonging to religious orders have had a vote.
Pope Francis, Cardinal Grech responded, has “highlighted several times the importance that women be more involved in the processes of discernment and decision-making in the church” and in recent synods, the number of women participating as nonvoting experts or and observers has increased.
“Changes will come with the new generation as more and more young people – not only young women but also young men – ask for women's equality,” she said.

Read Cindy Wooden's article in the U.K. Tablet here


Thank you for contributing to the Cathedral collections this week:

Envelopes: $  1,724.00
Presbytery:  $ 1,140.15

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

Gospel Reflection

We all seek to be part of family and community because we are social beings who need to engage with others and with our environment. Some are deprived of choice in this respect. Repeated name-calling and labelling is an age-old strategy of exclusion. “Illegals” is a label that excludes some of the most vulnerable people in today’s world. “Leper” is a label that is used metaphorically of those who are not welcome, of those deemed to be “infectious”. Today’s gospel about a person with leprosy invites us to reflect on the pain of exclusion..

To be a leper in the world of early Judaism was to have some sort of skin disease that excluded a person from community and in particular from public worship. There were strict regulations regarding such lepers (see today’s first reading from Leviticus, dating from several centuries before the time of Jesus). Their condition required ritual cleansing by a priest and an offering that cost money. That seems horrifying from our perspective, and it was.

In Mark’s story, the man with leprosy approaches Jesus of Nazareth who is not one of the priests. This afflicted person thus cuts across the established procedures. Jesus is “moved with compassion”, literally “moved in his gut, or in the depths of his being”. In other words, Jesus empathises deeply with the suffering person. He has a physical reaction in the face of suffering. Some manuscripts have “moved with anger”. A later scribe probably considered that expression too harsh as an emotion for Jesus and softened the text.

Jesus speaks and acts. He declares that he wills the cure of the man. He actually reaches out and touches him: a bodily encounter brings healing. He then sends the man back to tell the priests “as a proof to them”. The verb used for “send back” suggests that the priests had already been approached without success. Jesus, the Galilean healer, succeeds in mediating the power of the God of Israel and so restores this outcast person to life in the community and the community itself to greater wholeness through this healing. The widespread report of Jesus’ healing activity will incur the anger of some of the authorities.

For our part, as followers of Jesus, we might reflect on the fact that sickness and disability are not only physical phenomena. They also have social and emotional impacts on individuals and the communities to which they belong. Healing enables people to live again, to be with others and do the things they want to do. It brings new life and integrity to community. Jesus demonstrates that the combination of a compassionate word and a healing touch can work wonders. This was true in the ancient world. It is equally true for us today in the face of a virulent pandemic that has taken so many lives and disrupted family and social engagement. Healing must be all embracing if it is restore life.

Veronica Lawson RSM

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