Welcome to the Cathedral Parish e-News for this weekend.

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.



20th DECEMBER, 2020

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.

Follow us on Facebook:


Readings for this week:  Fourth Sunday of Advent

First:   Samuel 7:1-5. 8-12. 14. 16 Second:  Romans 16:25-27

Gospel: Luke 1:26-38

Readings for next week:  The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

First:    Ecclesiasticus 3:2-6. 12-14 Second:  Colossians 3:12-21

Gospel: Luke 2:22-40

Victor Agnoletto, Brian Huggett, Darren Maloney, Phil McLaughlin,
Kath Morton, Bernard Righetti

Patricia Batten
Fr James Caise
Maureen Carr
Catherine Mary DeGraaff
Thomas Donohue
Christiaan Ducardus
Leo Durrant
William Hardbottle
Thomas Heaney
Mary Hehir
Gerald Leonard
Stanislaw Lewashkewicz
Michael Lourey
Thomas Mahar
Francis McCarthy
Isobell McInerney
Bob Morris
Kathleen Murphy
Thomas Ratcliffe
Olga Roglic
Bridget Rousch
Isabelle Sherritt
Joan Sherritt
Marie Thomson
Betty Turner

Registrations are required for our Christmas Masses

Christmas Eve Masses

6.00pm St Patrick’s College – fully booked already

6.30pm Cathedral

8.00pm St Patrick’s College Chapel

9.00pm Cathedral (livestreamed on Facebook)

12 Midnight Cathedral

Christmas Day Masses

8.00am Cathedral

10.30am Cathedral (livestreamed on Facebook)

Parish Office summer hours

The Cathedral Parish Office will close on Christmas Eve, reopening on Wednesday January 6th at 10.00am. The Parish Office phone will be transferred to the on-call priest throughout this period so that the hospitals, aged care facilities, funeral directors and others seeking the immediate services of a priest may be responded to. Throughout January the Office will be open on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays 10.00am – 2.00pm. On Wednesday January 27th the Office will return to is regular hours, Tuesday – Friday 10.00am – 5.00pm. Throughout this extraordinary year, both Anita and Kerrie have continued to work from the Parish office and have been a vital reference point and support for many people. They have adapted to the changed circumstances the COVID-19 restrictions necessitated and have sought to keep in contact with as many people as possible through a range of communications. This has included our Cathedral Parish Facebook page and the uploading of daily Mass from St John of God Chapel to the Parish website, the development of an e-newsletter, providing technical assistance to access Facebook and now the registering of parishioners for our Masses. Thank you to both Anita and Kerrie.
Masses during the week

10.00am Mass will continue to be celebrated in the Cathedral each day (Monday – Saturday).  This will include New Year’s Day – Friday January 1st. The sacrament of Reconciliation will be available following the 10am Mass on Fridays and Saturdays.  The time of the weekday Mass will be reviewed in the New Year as we talk with our neighbouring Parishes and Nazareth House about what Mass times they will be offering each week as well.

Cathedral Parish Pastoral Council

Members of the Cathedral Parish Pastoral Council gathered with Fr Justin during this past week to give thanks for our year together.

Throughout the year we have received the resignations of Trudie Dickinson and Bethany Pennington. We thank both Trudie and Bethany for the service to the Cathedral Parish by serving as members of the Parish Pastoral Council.

Continuing members of the Pastoral Council are Leo Styles (Chair), Judy Brumby, Susan Crowe, Gerard Knobel, Brian Shanahan and Tomy Theckkamury.  Simon Duffy (Principal of St Thomas More Alfredton) will join the Council in order for the perspective of the Principals of the Catholic Primary Schools and those engaged in Catholic education to be included in the scope of the pastoral vision of the Cathedral Parish.


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

“The Church gives the faith to your children through Baptism and you have the task to make it grow…” Pope Francis.

Harriet Mary and Rupert Geoffrey Howard, children of Brendan and Joanne

Harvey Lyndon Rogan, son of Shane and Kirralee

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

Life in the Spirit
Our group here in St Patrick’s Cathedral Parish called Life in the Spirit is part of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement and we have been meeting regularly since 2017 every Tuesday from 7 to 8.30pm at the Mary Glowrey Room and break during the school holidays.

This was unexpectedly interrupted when COVID hit and life came to a near standstill for most of us. But with the marvel of technology, Zoom became our platform as we continued to joyfully experience our Lord’s transforming love though music, prayer, reflection of the Word and sharing about God’s daily guidance and strength. It was a great source of solace and fellowship through a time of what would otherwise have been disconnection and isolation from our Cathedral. The grand finale was the memorable Christmas gathering to celebrate Christ the very week after restrictions got lifted. We thank our Lord for His great grace through this year and invite you to join us in 2021!

Above image: 
L to R Kirby, Priya, Kazia, Carmel, Maree, Dawn, Anne Jean, Margot, Tomy, Kathy, June
Annual Christmas Appeal 2020
throughout the Diocese of Ballarat

Pope Francis:

‘Those who pray never turn their backs on the world’

Pope Francis at his general audience address in the library of the Apostolic Palace
Dec. 16, 2020. Credit: Vatican Media.

Vatican City, Dec 16, 2020 / 04:30 am MT (CNA).- People who pray for others are like God’s antennas, Pope Francis said at the general audience Wednesday.
In his address Dec. 16, the pope insisted that those who seek solitude and silence to intercede for others are not evading reality.  

“Whoever can knock on the door of someone who prays finds a compassionate heart which does not exclude anyone,” he said, seated beside a traditional depiction of the nativity.

He added: “These people pray for the entire world, bearing its sorrows and sins on their shoulders. They pray for each and every person: they are like God’s ‘antennas’ in this world.”

In his audience address, the pope continued his cycle of catechesis on prayer, which he began in May. He dedicated the address to the prayer of intercession, which the Catechism of the Catholic Church recognizes as one of the principal forms of prayer, alongside blessing and adoration, petition, thanksgiving, and praise.

Speaking via livestream from the library of the Apostolic Palace due to coronavirus restrictions, the pope underlined that prayer was not a form of escapism.

He said: “Those who pray never turn their backs on the world. If prayer does not gather the joys and sorrows, the hopes and the anxieties of humanity, it becomes a ‘decorative’ activity, a superficial, theatrical attitude, an intimist attitude.”

Keeping our eyes open

Our preparation for Christmas is a vigil of growing joy at what
has done for us in Jesus Christ

These days most people keep vigils because they are anxious. We wait in hospital corridors for news of a sick relative. A parent stays up with an infant who may be teething or has a high temperature. We might even sit by the phone waiting to be reassured that a loved one is safe and well, or that we have passed the exam, been accepted into a course or college or we got the job. Many of these occasions can be highly stressful vigils.

Some people keep vigils that are filled with excited anticipation, as when some young adults sleep out to get tickets to a sports game or a concert, or when we see the old year out and the new year in.

It was not long ago, however, that vigils were a much more common feature of people’s lives. There were vigils with the dead. There used to be all-night vigils of prayer, especially when parishes had perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Some still do. Perhaps before any of us can remember, there were also vigils kept with the bride the night before her wedding, when she waited and watched for the sign of her approaching groom and his attendants. The Church has enshrined the experience of keeping vigil through the Vigil Mass on Saturday night, the Vigil Ceremony in the funeral rites and the most important one, the Easter Vigil.

Whatever the vigil might be about, it is almost always a very good indicator of what or who we truly value. And the discomfort of “vigiling” is discounted by the end result.

Advent is like one, elongated vigil in preparation for Christmas. In this regard it is like Lent, and that’s not by accident. Through the first millennium of Christianity, Advent was a later Lent. Both were five weeks long, marked by fasting and penance and both gave the faithful a day off halfway through. Advent, however, got shortened to four weeks in the 10th century and Pope Gregory VII eased the fasting and penitential aspects of this season in the 12th century. He knew that preparing for Christmas should not be primarily marked by being anxious about sin, but by being filled with a growing sense of joy.
So much so that in every Advent season we have Gaudete Sunday, literarily the “rejoicing Sunday,” and it used to mirror Lent’s Laudate Sunday, that day of respite halfway through our fasting and penance. Since the 10th century, our rejoicing day is not-so-halfway anymore, but that’s no matter.

Read this reflection by Fr Richard Leonard SJ here

The challenge of gift-giving - a reflection

Gifts play an important part in our society and Christmas is our biggest season of gift-giving. Some gifts are cherished and a source of great joy; others put aside with little care or even passed onto others. Perhaps it is true it is the thought that counts, but the single, well-considered thought can be worth a thousand cast in haste.

There are occasions that society mores dictate giving. Little is expected. The simple remembrance may be appreciated, but equally regarded with scorn. Ignoring the occasion can also be a source of hurt. A sort of Catch 22.

There are many dimensions to gift-giving and Advent is a good time to think about them. Our purchases have an economic impact, so we can think about where we source them. We can choose to support big, conglomerate companies or small business enterprises. And, most importantly, we can ask about the condition of the labour that went into the manufacture, rather than the glamour attached to the maker’s label.

There are some things we can make ourselves, which can touch the recipient deeply. Others can relate to an important occasion in a relationship. We can give an experience, a tour of an historic site or place of importance to the recipient.

The English bishops are encouraging an anonymous gift this year, like lunches for the needy. This is a wide-open field and we can choose a cause we wish to support.

Read this reflection by Fr Jim Mulroney SSC here

‘We’re all in this together’
is what every Christmas celebrates

The global COVID-19 pandemic has proved the inter-relatedness and interconnectedness of all of creation. The best of humanity has outstripped and outshone the worst of humanity, writes Sister Patty Fawkner.

“Iso” is the Australian National Dictionary Centre’s word of the year, edging out “lockdown” and “contact tracing”. Short for “isolation”, “iso” is a particularly ‘Aussie’ take on pandemic language.
If I were to choose a phrase of the year, a front-runner would be “We’re all in this together” – the exact opposite of “iso”.
I don’t imagine that there is a single person on the planet who has not been negatively impacted by COVID-19. Starting from one isolated case in Wuhan Province in China and subsequently spreading to more than 65 million people world-wide and counting, the pandemic proves the inter-relatedness and interconnectedness of all of creation.

We are all in this together – that’s how we got the virus and how, eventually, we will contain it.

Science confirms our experience when it tells us that absolutely nothing is isolated. Scientist and theologian Arthur Peacocke explains: “Every atom of iron in our blood would not have been there had it not been produced in some galactic explosion billions of years ago and eventually condensed to form the iron in the crust of the Earth from which we have emerged.”
All that lives have common ancestors. We are kin to each other.

Read this reflection from the Good Oil here

Above image:  Sister Patty Fawkner SGS. Image:  Sisters of the Good Samaritan



Thank you for contributing to the Cathedral collections this week:

Envelopes: $ 815.00
Presbytery:  $ 1,290.45

Due to the cancellation of Masses, should you wish to continue your Planned Giving or contribution to the First Collection, please hand your envelope into the Parish Office, phone Finance Officer Kerrie to receive a Direct Debit form, or put your offering in an envelope into the mailbox near the front door.

Any queries or concerns, please contact the Parish Office
or email Finance Officer Kerrie.

Gospel Reflection
Fourth Sunday of Advent

The first section of today’s gospel reading comes from the prologue of John’s gospel and offers comment on the identity of John the Baptizer. The second section revolves around a question that has already been answered in the prologue. In other words, the reader knows the answer to the question posed by the characters in the second section. The prologue presents John the baptizer as one “sent from God”. He is not “the light”; he is rather a “witness” whose role is to testify to “the light”.  The true light [Jesus] was “coming into the world”. As we proclaim Jesus as “the light”, we might take time to appreciate the wonder and the properties of the material reality that informs this metaphor.

In the face of less than friendly questioning, John the baptizer responds simply and honestly to questions about his identity. The questions in this second section of the reading are relentless and John’s responses are unambiguous. He is not the Messiah/the Christ, the Anointed of God. He is not the prophet Elijah that some identified with God’s messenger of Malachi 3:1-3 who would return and restore the “descendants of Levi” He is not the prophet-like-Moses of Deuteronomy 15. He states his identity with reference to the words of the prophet Isaiah: he is the voice crying out in the wilderness, inviting God’s people to prepare the way for God’s advent, God’s coming.

John knows who he is. He understands the parameters of his mission and he points his questioners in the direction of the truth. His role is  pivotal in the story of God’s saving action and in the unfolding of the drama of the fourth gospel. It is worth asking how we might answer the question that the priests and Levites put to John on behalf of the Jerusalem “Jews”: “Who are you?” If we can honestly answer that question, if we can admit who we are with all our strengths and weaknesses, if we can know our place in the scheme of things and own it in all humility, then we are probably in a good position to recognise and, like John, witness to the “one who is coming”, the light of the world, the revelation of God, the Word who became flesh and tented amongst us. For many of us, pandemic time has sharpened our awareness of who we are and how we are called to be.

A caution is in order regarding this reading: not only the opponents of Jesus but most of the actors in the gospel drama are Jewish. The group of characters specifically named as “the Jews” includes some influential members of the Jewish religious leadership, but cannot be identified with them because it comprises a more extensive group who are consistently in conflict with Jesus. It would be a serious disservice to the gospel to condemn the Jewish people on the basis of this and similar stories of Jewish opposition to Jesus.

Veronica Lawson RSM

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