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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.

Fourth Sunday of Advent (Year C)

19th December, 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

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Sunday Masses have no limits on the numbers of those who can attend. Bookings are not required to attend Masses, however, please note:

QR code or registration upon entry is still required please.

Masks are not mandatory but are strongly encouraged.

St Patrick’s Cathedral
6.30pm Vigil




Weekday Masses will be celebrated in the Cathedral

Monday 10.00am

Tuesday 10.30am (Funeral Mass)

Wednesday  10.00am

Thursday 10.00am

Friday  7.30am, 12.05pm  11.30am Reconciliation

Saturday 10.00am  10.30am Reconciliation

* * * * * * * * * * *
You are more than welcome for private prayer as the Cathedral is open.
We are required to abide by Government Covid rules which are:

QR Code or sign in when entering the Cathedral
Hand sanitise upon entry
Masks are not mandatory but are strongly encouraged.

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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.

Our pastoral care of each other is an expression of our faith in the compassionate Christ and belonging to the Body of Christ.

2021 Christmas Masses
Christmas Eve, Friday December 24th

6.00pm Cathedral

6.30pm St Patrick’s College Chapel 1431 Sturt St

7.30pm Cathedral

9.00pm Cathedral

12 Midnight Cathedral

Christmas Day, Saturday December 25th

8.00am Cathedral

10.30am Cathedral

Sunday December 26th Feast of the Holy Family

8.00am, 10.30am and 5.00pm at the Cathedral

Readings for this week:   Fourth Sunday of Advent

First:  Micah 5:1-4  Second:  Hebrews 10:5-10

Gospel: Luke 1:39-45

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

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

Gospel: Luke 2:41-52

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

Lakey Mabel Kiterangi Lannen
daughter of Daniel and Danielle

Elizabeth Marie Richter
daughter of Paul and Kim

Leela Joan and Devaan Gautam Piersma
children of Matthew & Joyita

"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.

Frank Murphy

Ian Bartlett
Patricia Batten
Fr James Caise
Maureen Carr
Frances Coughlan
Catherine Mary DeGraaff
Thomas Donohue
Christiaan Ducardus
Leo Durrant
James Goodwin
William Hardbottle
Thomas Heaney
Mary Hehir
Gerald Leonard
Stanislaw Lewashkewicz
Michael Lourey
Isobell McInerney
Stephen Mills
Kathleen Murphy
Eileen O'Donnell
Thomas Ratcliffe
Bridget Rousch
Isabelle Sherritt
Marie Thomson
Betty Turner

In view of health concerns, Fr Wally Tudor will soon be retiring from his responsibilities as Parish Priest. I offer my thanks to Fr Wally for his dedicated service in numerous parishes in our diocese over the past 34 years, most recently as Parish Priest of Apollo Bay since 2009. Fr Wally will conclude his ministry in Apollo Bay at the end of this month.

Throughout January, several Columban priests will celebrate Masses in the Apollo Bay Parish. I am very grateful for the assistance of the Columbans on this occasion as on many previous occasions.

Following consultations in recent times, I am pleased to announce appointments that will take effect on February 1, 2022.

Fr Michael O’Toole will become Parish Priest of Apollo Bay. This will be in addition to his responsibilities as Parish Priest of Colac and Supervising Priest for Cororooke. I am very grateful to Fr Michael for his generosity in being willing to take up this additional role. Fr John Pothiyittel will become Assistant Priest of Apollo Bay Parish. I pray for Fr Michael and Fr John as they take up the care of the communities in the Apollo Bay, Lorne and Airey’s Inlet. May their ministry bring blessings to themselves as well as to the parishioners.

God bless you all.
Bishop Paul

Life in the Spirit Prayer Group
Catholic Women's League
One of our Passionist
Family Groups
Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)
St Vincent de Paul -
Cathedral Conference
St John of God Health Care
Anointing Mass
It’s not easy being Christian,
let alone being Catholic
Sister Patty Fawkner. Image: Sisters of the Good Samaritan.

Being faithful to the Gospel comes at a cost but regaining the respect of others in the public sphere should never be the end game, writes Sister Patty Fawkner SGS.

“These days it’s almost a crime to be Christian.” Thus said former New South Wales Education Minister, Adrian Piccoli, in response to the commentary when so-called ‘conservative Catholic’ Dominic Perrottet became NSW Premier two months ago. It might not be a crime, but it definitely isn’t easy being Christian, let alone being Catholic.

If anyone was in any doubt about the standing of the Catholic Church in the eyes of the wider community, one had only to listen to, or read, the agitated discourse surrounding Perrottet’s election, the debate accompanying the Voluntary Assisted Dying legislation in various jurisdictions, and the Federal Religious Discrimination Bill. Pre-judgment, suspicion and sheer contempt have become the order of the day.

It seems that Perrottet has become a whipping boy for those who are hostile to the Church, and some of its critics within. His ‘sins’ are said to be plentiful. He doesn’t espouse an inclusive brand of Christianity. He is dragging Australia into sectarian exclusiveness and religious wars. He mouths off as though he speaks for all Christians. His religious dogma will stifle personal freedom of choice. His attitudes are severely at odds with the central demands of democracy. His conservative faith and ‘bizarre’ interpretations of the Bible blind him to the urgent issues of the day including the need for climate action. He flouts the time-honoured tradition of the separation of Church and State.

This perception is yet to be confirmed by Perrottet’s actions. Despite being vocal in his opposition to the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill, he gave his Liberal MPs a conscience vote. His government has increased funding for services for women and children escaping domestic abuse, enacted laws against modern slavery and established an inquiry into gay hate and transgender crimes. His stated goal is for NSW to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

A further claim in a letter to the editor in the Sydney Morning Herald said that a Catholic group lobbying against the Voluntary Assisted Dying legislation was “an example of a dying human being used as a cash cow by extending life for the purpose of earning income to help finance its religion.” Though offensive in the extreme, this is indicative of the deficit of trust in the Church.

For me, it wasn’t coincidental that the same week as vitriol swirled about Premier Perrottet, a report on Sexual Violence in the Catholic Church France 1950-2020, known as the Sauvé Report, was released. The report estimated that up to 330,000 children had been abused by clergy, religious and other Church officials. Yet again, a sickening pattern emerged of wholesale sexual violence against young children and adolescents, followed by a calculated effort to protect the institution and a cruel indifference to the victims.

When synodality confronts hierarchy

What an extraordinary coincidence of synodal events the Church in Australia is currently undertaking. The intersessional period between the two Assemblies of the Fifth Plenary Council is underway and the First Assembly Proposals from Small Groups and Individual Members has just been published. At the same time, we are called to participate in the consultation process with the entire Church for the 16thOrdinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on Synodality. Australian Catholics have been invited to link the two occasions by responding to the First Assembly Proposals through the Synod of Bishops consultation process.

Synodality is at the heart of both events. Archbishop Timothy Costelloe’s presidential message accompanying the First Assembly Proposals document included the reflection that: ‘It has been a journey of listening, dialogue and discernment which has provided the opportunity for all of us to explore the practice of ‘synodality’ and learn by doing’. Not only was synodality embraced by the Assembly, but a specific agenda question (No. 13) asked: ‘How might the People of God, lay and ordained, women and men, approach governance in the spirit of synodality and co-responsibility for more effective proclamation of the Gospel?’

The Individual Reflection Guide issued by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) for the Synod of Bishops consultation states that ‘Pope Francis is calling the Church to practice synodality, that is listening to-and hearing-one another in all facets of Church life.’ We are invited to participate in the consultation process to reflect on the three dimensions of a synodal Church: communion, participation and mission.

However, synodality confronts the traditional practice of hierarchy within the church. When the ACBC responded last December to The Light from the Southern Cross report, which promoted synodality and co-responsible governance, it re-stated its position that hierarchy was embedded in the church’s approach to governance. This immediately set up a potential tension between episcopal authority and participation in governance by the People of God.

This article by John Warhurst was published in 'Eureka Street' and can be read here

Have your say on religious freedom,
Catholics urged
Catholics are being encouraged to participate in a nationwide survey on religious discrimination legislation currently before the Australian Parliament and speak up in favour of religious freedom.

Last month, the Attorney-General referred three bills to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights: the Religious Discrimination Bill 2021; the Religious Discrimination (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2021; and the Human Rights Legislation Amendment Bill 2021.

As part of its inquiry, which is due to report back on in February 2022, the committee has launched an online survey. The survey asks respondents to reply to 10 questions.

Archbishop Peter A Comensoli, chair of the Bishops Commission for Life, Family and Public Engagement, said the legislation “while not perfect … will provide basic human rights protections for Australians of all faiths to express their beliefs”.

“All Australian citizens, regardless of their religious belief or activity, should be able to participate fully in our society,” he said.

“They must be entitled to the equal and effective protection of the law and should not be discriminated against on the basis of their religious belief or activities in public life.”

Archbishop Comensoli called on Catholics to take up the invitation and contribute to the consultation process.

“We are fortunate to live in a democratic society where we have the right and responsibility to advocate for fair and just laws,” he said.

“I encourage Catholics and all people of good will to exercise this freedom.”
Read the full media statement from the
Australian Catholic Bishop’s Conference here.

Seeking the simplicity of Christmas - a reflection

This year many people are approaching Christmas Day both with longing and a little hesitation. For two years the things that we take for granted at Christmas have been under threat. Family gatherings and reunions have been limited by restrictions. So have the buying of gifts, travel over holiday time, and gatherings at the beach. This year it is easy to feel the pull between going back with greater enthusiasm to what we did before and the desire, fuelled by the discoveries we have made during the lockdowns, to find new and perhaps more simple ways of celebrating Christmas.
The original Christmas stories are marked by human simplicity in the face of imposed complexity, writes Fr Andrew Hamilton SJ. IMAGE: Shutterstock.

We all have our memories of past Christmases - some of joy, of conviviality, of generous excess, and others of sadness, disappointment and rancour. They reflect the joys and sorrows, the generosity and the meanness. the simplicity and the complexity of our lives. The original Christmas stories, too, are marked by human simplicity in the face of imposed complexity. In Luke’s Gospel the main actors are a young couple walking to a distant town, focused all the while on the coming birth of their child. They are making this uncomfortable journey because the Roman Emperor has demanded that they with all their fellow countrymen register for taxation purposes. The overcrowding of the town caused by the census also means that Jesus’ birth takes place in the simplest of surroundings – in a lean-to for cattle. The celebration of the birth also takes place in the field, with its guests a group of notoriously unsociable shepherds and a choir of angels, the simplest of beings.
Read this reflection by Fr Andrew Hamilton for
Jesuit Social Services here

Thank you for contributing to the Cathedral collections this week:

Parish $1,607.00
Presbytery $1,119.95

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

Date for the Diary:
January 1st, 2022, 10.00 am


A Parish gathering is planned to farewell Father Justin, following the 10.00am Mass on New Year’s Day, Saturday January 1st 2022.

This is an opportunity for our Mass community to come together to express our gratitude to Father Justin's ministry in the Parish over the past fourteen years.

The Parish Pastoral Council invite all to attend.
Reflection on the Readings
Today’s gospel reading recounts the first episode in a section of Mark’s gospel that focusses on a typical day in the ministry of Jesus as authoritative teacher and prophetic healer (1:21-38). Jesus comes with his disciples to Capernaum. On the Sabbath day, Judaism’s holy day, he goes into the synagogue, Judaism’s local gathering place, and preaches. The verbal forms in the first sentence indicate that teaching in the synagogue was part of his customary activity. Jesus is thus located firmly within Israel’s prophetic tradition of proclaiming God’s word to God’s people.

In today’s first reading from Deuteronomy (18:15-20), the term “prophet” appears eight times. Moses tells the people that God will respond to their request at Sinai (Horeb) and raise up from among them a prophet like himself, a mediator between God and God’s people, one who will speak God’s word. Prophets do not appoint or authorise themselves: God calls and authorises the prophets to speak God’s word. Failure to heed the prophets carries its own consequences as does the attempt to assume a prophetic role without God’s authorisation. Just as the prophets of old speak the authentic word of God only when they are authorised by the God of Israel, so Jesus of Nazareth, later to identify himself in this gospel as God’s prophet (6:4), speaks and acts “with authority”. In other words, he speaks with the authority of the God of Israel.

In this first Markan story of his divinely authorised activity, Jesus is approached by a man “with an unclean spirit”. The man’s loud scream sets up a confrontation between the power of God, mediated through Jesus, and the forces of destruction that often take hold of human lives. Jesus silences and expels these destructive forces and thus renders a seriously troubled person whole. Confounding the “unclean spirit(s)” brings social and communal benefits to the troubled person as well as physical and emotional healing.

God’s reign or empire is made real through a healing action that is perceived as “a new teaching”. No word of Jesus’ teaching is reported, only his actions and those actions are presented as “teaching”. While words have their place, we teach primarily by who we are and what we do. For Jesus and his disciples, as for us, congruence between words and actions is integral to authentic gospel proclamation.

Jesus is demonstrating to his newly formed group of followers that the gospel they are to proclaim is grounded in the ordinary struggles of ordinary people. This gospel carries the power to lift the burdens and restore the troubled to wholeness and health. We may wish to acknowledge the “unclean spirits” that take hold of us from time to time so that we can open ourselves to the power of God mediated through God’s healer-teachers in our time.

-Veronica Lawson RSM

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