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.



13th 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.

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Readings for this week:  Third Sunday of Advent

First:  Isaiah 61:1-2. 10-11  Second:  Thessalonians 5:16-24

Gospel: John 1:6-8. 19-28

Readings for next week:  Fourth Sunday of Advent

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

Gospel:  Luke 1:26-38

Edward Benfield, Czeslaw Mytyk, Angelina Seehusen

Ian Bartlett
Terrance Bastian
William Bird
Dulcie Bottel
Laurence Brennan
Thomas Cash
Frances Coughlan
Janice Curtain
Bryan Everard
James Goodwin
Andrew Hartwig
Shirley Madden
Mary McArdle
Samantha McArthur
Valma Meagher
Stephen Mills
Ryan Monteau
Ronald Moss
Lillian Murphy
Eileen O'Donnell
Lawrence O'Shannessy
Leon Parker
Eugenia Pazzolla
Rosita Reyes
Jamie Rogers
Ljubomir (Lou) Saric
Mary Sawtell
Francis Tagliabue
Graham Thomson
Franciscus van der Kley
Thomas Williams
Elizabeth Woods
Wieslaw Wozniak
Cathedral Parish Update

The Sunday Masses are
6.30pm (Saturday Vigil), 8.00am, 10.30am and 5.00pm.
Register your attendance through the Parish Office.

Planning for Christmas has commenced. We will celebrate the following Masses for our Cathedral Parish this Christmas and we express our gratitude to St Patrick’s College for their willingness to allow us to use their Chapel for Masses on Christmas Eve. This will allow us to cater for more people to participate in a Christmas Mass. Many volunteers are needed to ensure that we remain COVID safe. Please contact the Parish Office to register your assistance.

Anointing Mass Friday December 18th 10.00am
Advent Reconciliation Wednesday December 16th 7.00pm
Weekday Mass 10.00am Monday - Saturday
Morning Prayer 8.00am Monday - Friday
Evening Prayer 5.30pm Monday - Friday

Masses for Christmas

St Patrick's Cathedral:  6.30pm, 9.00pm and Midnight
St Patrick's College Chapel:   6.00pm and 8.00pm

St Patrick's Cathedral:  8.00am and 10.30am

Registrations for these Masses are now being taken during Parish Office Hours.  Please contact the Cathedral Office (open 10am – 5pm, Tuesday - Friday) to register your attendance at one of these Masses.

At all gatherings contact details continue to be collected, contact surfaces continue to be sanitised, social distancing observed and hand sanitiser provided. 
Face masks must be worn if social distancing cannot be maintained.


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.

Jonty Lyall and Archie Raine Webb, sons of Gavin and Holly

Lucy Evelyn Geyle, daughter of Damien and Katharine

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

Local St Vincent de Paul Conferences gather

On Tuesday December 8
th, members of the St Vincent de Paul Conferences from Ballarat, Ballarat East, Ballarat North, Sebastopol and Wendouree gathered in the Cathedral for 10am Mass followed by a gathering in the Cathedral Hall. Alan West, Acting Regional President offered the following words:

How good it is to once again celebrate Mass and gather in this way. Some 15 months ago we introduced the little booklet “a pocket full of help” listing all known welfare and like services in Ballarat. It has become a useful tool for those working in the sector and for clients. This was to be followed by “hall full of help” in this very hall. Following much planning with 40 plus signed on to attend and flyers were printed, invitations send out… then 10 days out from the event the COVID-19 lockdown turned our world upside down and our mode of operation changed overnight.

It does not seem like 9 months ago since I sat down with Andrew Black and Sarah Joy Muirhead from the Young Vinnies team to discuss ways they could assist us, as our Ballarat Assistance Centre had to close ad those of us over 70 had to remain at home. Young Vinnies reaction was swift and positive so we were able to develop a covid safe way to continue to assist those in need over three of our region’s Conferences. Wendouree and Sebastopol Conferences elected to continue to do their own work.

The result was Magnificent! Nine months of great work by Young Vinnies, ably assisted by some not so Young Vinnies who were co-opted by the young team. Perfect!

This great effort could not have happened without the enormous workload of many of our members working from home. Each morning one or two members would take calls from the helpline. These details were then sent to the daily supervisor who would contact the client to establish their need. Vouchers were forwarded to a central point where the Young Vinnies team members collected and delivered. A job well planned and executed by many, a tremendous effort and I am grateful for each and every one for the outcome. In adverse circumstances, you continued the work we are meant to do and dozens upon dozens of families and individuals were helped with food on the table, bill assistance and much more.

At the end of the year and when Christmas is upon us I hope the Spirit of Christ, peace and joy surrounds you and yours and when we start the new year, perhaps we can reflect on the good fortune that is ours and what a privilege it is to be a Vincentian.

Thank you.
Alan West

Vinnies launches 2020 Christmas Appeal
The St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia is asking people in a position to do so to dig a bit deeper this year as the Society launches its Christmas Appeal after a very tough year. 

To donate go click here
Mass for You at Home to continue in 2021

Melbourne’s Archbishop Peter A Comensoli has confirmed that
Mass for You at Home will continue in 2021, correcting false media reports and social media commentary.

Mass for You at Home, one of the nation’s longest-running television shows, will continue to air on Network Ten, and in regional areas and on pay television through Aurora. It will also be available online on demand.

'I can confirm that Mass for You at Home will be on air in 2021, with the Archdiocese having recently underlined that intention with Network Ten,' Archbishop Comensoli said.

The Archbishop acknowledged that the broadcasting costs for Mass for You at Home are a challenge. The Church across the country is working with supporters and collaborators to ensure Mass can be beamed into living rooms into the future.

'For decades, Mass for You at Home has been a source of comfort and strength for people who – for a range of reasons – haven’t been able to attend Mass in person,' he said.

Archbishop Comensoli said there has been a proliferation of online Masses during the COVID-19 pandemic, many of which will continue. But there are some people for whom technology is not available or not familiar.

'People living in aged care, those in hospital or house-bound, people in prison, others awake early on a Sunday morning have been able to find spiritual nourishment in a world that can often be filled with "noise",' Archbishop Comensoli said.

'The people who have been expressing concern about the future of Mass for You at Home demonstrate that the program continues to meet an important need. We look forward to it continuing.'

Archbishop Comensoli said the program will undergo some changes in 2021, including seeing Masses filmed in churches. It is also expected that additional material will be produced for the program’s online portal.

Read the media release here

What will the Catholic Church look like in 2021?
Prophecy is a risky business, but I’m happy to have a go at describing what the Church might look like in Australia after COVID-19.

For starters, I’m wondering if we’ll ever see holy water in stoups at the doors of our churches again – although I’ve been really impressed at the contactless holy water dispensers I’ve seen in some parishes.

And I am one of those germophobes who is really happy with the way we’ve swapped out the handshake Sign of Peace for a simple nod of the head or a smile and wave.

But the biggest difference you’ll probably notice is that there’s fewer of us at Mass on Sundays. I’ve just completed a national survey on the impact of COVID-19 on Catholic worship choices, and it’s been very interesting.

For some people, church closures have ended their relationship with the sacraments, which is really sad. Now that churches have re-opened, they’re simply not going to Mass anymore.

But for others, church closures were an opportunity to discover just how much they wanted to be with the living God in the Eucharist, and to be with other Catholics.

So they got creative – and I think this is something we’ll see more of in future, if we have to go through church closures again.

Wisdom from the East: Cardinal Luis Tagle

The charismatic, socially progressive, doctrinally cautious head of one of the Vatican’s most powerful departments talks to Catherine Pepinster of his hopes and fears for the post-Covid world
Getting to talk to Cardinal Luis Tagle is a hard task. We’re all set to chat in the days before he gives a talk to the Westminster Abbey Institute – but then he cancels. We fix it again: and with just an hour to go before our meeting, his office cancels, saying there is a crisis. And then, third time lucky: it happens.

As a cardinal who is both prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples and president of Caritas Internationalis, as well as the Catholic Biblical Federation, one expects him to lead a busy life. But it turns out that Covid-19 is making his life even more complex than usual.

Read this article by Catherine Pepinster from the Tablet here

Above image: 
Cardinal Tagle with Pope Francis at an event in the Vatican in 2019 Photo: CNS/Vatican Media

Catholic sector calls for urgent rethink on
JobSeeker cuts

Catholic Social Services Australia has urged the Government to heed the findings of experts and its own reports and reverse its decision to cut the JobSeeker allowance next month.

A number of key social service agencies, peak bodies and industry associations have recently published analysis of the likely outcomes if the Jobseeker allowance falls to $51 per day from January 1 – as currently planned.

Almost two million Australians are expected to be affected by cuts to assistance provided through the coronavirus supplement. If the forecast cuts come into effect at the start of 2021, the total amount a single person can receive on JobSeeker will fall to $715 a fortnight.

“The long-term decline in the adequacy of JobSeeker, and Newstart before that, is a major policy failure that needs to be addressed and informed by a process of regular and independent review,” CSSA chief executive officer Ursula Stephens said.

“The Government needs to prioritise a focus on the common good when setting such policies and payment levels for social safety nets.”

CSSA renewed its call for the Government to establish an independent expert panel to advise on reform to social security payment rates that were originally designed to keep people out of poverty.

“What COVID-19 has demonstrated is that Australians expect a welfare system that is fair, equitable and sufficient to meet basic needs,” Dr Stephens said.

Read the Media Release from Catholic Social Services here



Thank you for contributing to the Cathedral collections this week:

Envelopes: $ 2,817.00
Presbytery:  $ 1,154.95

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
Third 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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