• Homilies,  Occasional

    Entrustment of Catenian Association Australia to St Mary MacKillop of the Cross – 27 July 2020

    Soon after the final declaration of Mary’s sanctity was given in Rome in 2009, I read a poignant but rather challenging letter to the editor of The Sydney Morning Herald from a Vincent Matthews: My wife is a saint. And I don’t need the Pope to confirm it.  For nearly 40 years she worked as a nurse in many parts of Australia easing the suffering of the sick and helping to cure many. She is idolised by her three children and is a special nana to two adoring little girls.  Aged 74, she works in a charity shop, gives part of her age pension to Medecins Sans Frontieres and to World Vision to help a child…

  • Occasional

    Vigil for Fr Denis Callahan

    Our farewell of someone is always a celebration of memories. Even in the recounting of just a few of the facts of a person’s life and in the re-telling of some of the stories of their journey, we glimpse something of their mystery and of the relationships that made them such a particular presence in the world that, without exception, we realise is not the same as it was before the gift of the person’s life. For a few brief moments it is like being at the window of a person’s life. Yet we also realise that our own memories of the one whom we are farewelling cannot fully capture…

  • Occasional

    Opening of School Year – Loreto College Normanhurst

    Each year the Macquarie Dictionary selects a word of the year.  The word (or words) for 2019 were ‘cancel culture’ which is the online phenomenon of boycotting public figures who say or do the wrong thing. The year before that it was ‘Me too’ – the drive of women to stand up against abusive behaviour of those in power. However, given that the theme for Loreto College this year is Verity, I want to come back to the word that emerged as the one for 2016, four years ago. That word was ‘fake news.’ And of course, it has lost none of its currency since. As the committee of academics, writers and journalists…

  • Occasional

    Opening Mass for Brigidine College and Commissioning of new Principal, Ms Laetitia Richmond

    One of the great insights of our Tradition is that God created humans because God loves a good story. And so it is that our Scriptures are filled with narrative rather than philosophical discourse. Why is this so? The writer Denis McBride relates a Jewish explanation of this: truth is like a naked obscene man in a village. It needs to be tamed by a beautiful woman dressed in fine clothes and much adornment and this woman’s name is Story. Our stories open the imagination and help us see new possibilities. They are the best means by which we come to the Truth of life.  For us, Scripture is a…

  • Occasional

    Funeral Homily for my father, Geoff Ranson, Church of Apostles, Launceston Tasmania 20 December 2019

    Nestled in the temperate rain forests of north east Tasmania, Derby reached its boom time in the late 19thcentury through the discovery of tin. By 1931 when Dad was born and raised there it was still recovering from a catastrophic flood a couple of years earlier, though the mines were still in operation and would be for a couple of decades further. At the height of its industry, the village numbered some 3,000 people – for that time in Tasmania, virtually a bustling centre of commerce and social life. For several generations prior, the Ransons and the Dilgers had farmed across the north east from Branxholm, Maydena and Scottsdale. They…

  • Occasional

    St Leo’s College Wahroonga Feast Day

    “What’s in a name?” we might ask? “Is a name important?” we might add. How many of us know the meaning of our own name? I think our names are much more important than simple labels. Obviously, they give us a certain identification and acknowledgement. But names also shape us in some way; they give us personality and character.  We are given a name, and though it is possible for us to change this by deed poll most of us accept our name and grow into it the older we become. In so doing, I think something quite profound happens: we learn both to hear and to speak the word…

  • Occasional

    Annual Broken Bay Catholic Schools Mission Mass – Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral, Waitara

    Matthew 5: 1-12 “The Beatitudes” I am sure that many of our parents remember the first words we spoke. For our parents these words were memorable – especially if they were about them! The first words we utter are a mighty achievement. But then the first words a person speaks in a new role, too, always have a great significance about them. We think of the first speech of a member of Parliament or a president. Without putting too much pressure on him, we are looking forward to the first homily of Bishop Anthony, though some of us may have already watched his first greeting to us after the announcement…

  • Occasional

    Mass for Clergy Jubilarians – Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral, Waitara

    As I may have shared with some of you previously, I have had the fortune of once being able to visit the island of Malta upon which Paul had been shipwrecked on his way to Rome. I realized on Malta that the texts of Paul’s time there were not simply historical in character but were, in fact, highly elaborate commentaries, not simply on Paul, but on the Church itself for which Paul is presented as a metaphor.  The actual account of Paul’s shipwreck detailed in the chapter 27 of the Acts of the Apostles teaches us this in a very particular way. Taking the peculiarities of the chapter into account…

  • Occasional

    Homily for the Concluding Mass of the 27th General Chapter of the Sisters of St Joseph – Baulkham Hills

    “Christ is alive! He is our hope, and in a wonderful way he brings youth to our world, and everything he touches becomes young, new, full of life.”[1] So does Pope Francis begin his recent letter to the young people of the world. Yes, “Christ is alive! . . . The one who fills us with his grace, the one who liberates us, transforms us, heals and consoles us is someone fully alive. He is the Christ, risen from the dead, filled with supernatural life and energy, and robed in boundless light . . . Because he did not only come in the past, but he comes to you today and every…

  • Occasional

    Broken Bay Diocesan Bible Conference Opening Mass – Friday 11 October 2019 (Luke 11: 15-26)

    It was once suggested to the Nobel laureate Patrick White that he enter psychoanalysis. He flatly refused because he said that if he got rid of his demons then his spark of genius would evaporate. Somewhere we have to learn how to live with our demons rather than simply get rid of them.  And by this, I mean, that we have to learn how to live with what we consider to be flaws in our personality, vulnerabilities in our make-up.  We have to let go of a frenetic attempt at perfection in which we seek to become somehow flaw-less.  It’s not the presence of flaws that is actually the problem for us; it…

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