What the Cathedral means to me

Archbishop Denis Hart by Most Reverend Denis J. Hart D.D.
Emeritus Archbishop of Melbourne

Saint Patrick’s is a place of God, an oasis of peace and beauty.  A small immigrant community built it with courage, vision and love.  It is a lasting reminder of God’s constant presence among the people of Melbourne.

As a small boy I remember my father bringing me in for a visit.  Later as a seminarian I saw that it was the focus of the Church and I attended Ordinations.  Forty years ago this year I myself was ordained a priest.  Later as a priest at the Cathedral I came to know the many moods which our Cathedral has; the peace of early morning, the prayerfulness of those who come for a visit, the comfort of reconciliation offered at lunchtime as the Cathedral becomes light and the day is splendid.  On Good Friday afternoon often everything is bathed in golden light coming from the west, which gradually subsides as the quiet of evening descends.

In word and song our great celebrations make it resound in praise of God.  The beauty of our liturgies enhances the beauty of the place and draws us to remember the wonder of God.

The cry of a baptised infant, the joy of Confirmation, the life-giving hope of ordinations and marriage are matched by the peace of the sacrament of reconciliation of drawing people back to God.

Whenever I stand at the altar celebrating Mass in the Cathedral I am always humbled and amazed at what we have – a treasured place to praise God and meet with him, constant focus of teaching life-giving truth, a never-ending sign of his mercy and consolation.

Saint Patrick’s has been the centre of so much of my priestly life and work and now as a bishop I am deeply grateful for what our Catholics of today hold and pass on to others.

May Saint Patrick’s long remain a place of wonder.  “How awesome is the place.  This is a house of God and gate of heaven.” (Genesis 28:17)

The Cathedral