Melbourne welcomes Archbishop Comensoli at installation Mass

Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli took his seat at St Patrick's Cathedral on Wednesday 1st August, as the ninth Archbishop of Melbourne, in a ceremony rich in the symbolism and magisterial ritual of the Church.

Concelebrants at the installation Mass of the former Bishop of Broken Bay included Melbourne’s Archbishop Emeritus Denis Hart, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge, as well as bishops from across Australia and Melbourne clergy.

Also present was Pope Francis’ representative in Australia, the Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana, who read the Papal Bull - the letter from Pope Francis appointing Archbishop Comensoli to lead the archdiocese - first in Latin, then in English.

Official proceedings began with a welcome to country from Indigenous Elder and Aboriginal Catholic Ministry Victoria coordinator Sherry Balcombe.

Archbishop Comensoli then entered the cathedral at the West Door, where the Dean of the Cathedral, John Salvano, offered him a crucifix to kiss and holy water with which to bless himself and the congregation. An estimated 3000 people filled the cathedral pews to witness the ceremony.

The new archbishop’s arrival represented a generational changing of the guard for the archdiocese, but he assured the faithful that the office’s commitment to Catholic teaching and tradition would continue unchanged.

Donning the mitre for the first time as head of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, Archbishop Comensoli smiled and acknowledged his new flock with visible joy.

In his homily, Archbishop Comensoli emphasised particular elements of the Church’s mission, with a focus on the need to be a Church of action, marked by joy and mercy and sharing a lived Gospel. “Our common task is a missionary one,” he said. And a good start in sharing the Gospel was getting “the soil of our culture under our fingernails as we plant seeds of grace and peace.”

Archbishop Comensoli drew upon the great legacy of Australia’s first saint, Mary of the Cross MacKillop: “I’ve come from the city where Mary completed her missionary journey, to the city where she began it. You are the Church that produced Australia’s first saint.”

With what he called “a newbie’s boldness”, he rallied the gathered faithful with a reminder of their proud Catholic legacy. “You are a Church that can produce great fruits,” he said, asserting the faithful in Melbourne were nothing less than “saint whisperers”.

Source: Melbourne Catholic

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