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Archdiocesan agency staff urged to contemplate the face of Christ


Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB stands with the Catholic Aboriginal Ministry representatives during a luncheon after the annual Agency Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral on Thursday 26 July. Photo: Ron Tan.

By Amanda Murthy

“Listen with the ears of your heart.”

“The words which we find on the front cover of today’s Mass booklet - understand with your heart, listen with your ears - which we have just heard in the Gospel reading, bring to my mind the opening words of the Rule of Saint Benedict.

These were the words of Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, who last week celebrated Mass with staff from agencies and organisations across the Archdiocese for the 2018 annual agencies Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral on Thursday 26 July.

Archbishop Costelloe was joined by concelebrants Fr Richard Smith, Fr Greg Carroll, Fr Sean Fernandez, Mgr Michael Keating, Mgr Brian O’Loughlin, Fr Manoel Lopes-Borges, Fr Nino Vinciguerra and Fr Conor Steadman as MC.

Director of the WA Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office Deacon Greg Lowe served as Deacon.


Archbishop Costelloe told the congregation to contemplate the face of Christ during the Agency Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral on Thursday 26 July. Photo: Ron Tan.

Archbishop Costelloe also acknowledged the inevitable suffering caused by members and leaders of the Church with regards to sexual abuse cases.

He cited while the story of sexual abuse in the Church indicates a deep malaise within the Church community, the same issue applies throughout “so many institutions in society, including the most important institution of all, the family”.

“The question we must then ask ourselves is what we do as the Church, and I as an individual, think God is asking of us at this time”, said Archbishop Costelloe, adding that this is the very question currently being posed by the 2020 Plenary Council.

Archbishop Costelloe said when asking the questions, we must “listen, not just to each other, but to God who is speaking in and through each other, and in so many other ways as well - For we are not being asked what we want for the Church; rather, what we have discerned God wants for the Church.”


New Cathedral Dean Father Sean Fernandez poses with Archdiocesan staff during the luncheon after the annual Agency Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral on Thursday 26 July. Photo: Ron Tan.

Drawing inspiration from the book of Proverbs, Archbishop Costelloe urged those present to “understand with your hearts, listen with your ears and above all else guard your hearts” when addressing the questions.

“We must turn our ear to the Lord’s words and keep them within our hearts for they are life and health to those who find them - We must give careful thought to the paths we choose to follow, let our eyes look straight ahead, and above all else guard our hearts, for everything we do will flow from there. 

“And in all things, in order to make sure that our witness does not prove to be hopelessly inadequate, as it has been so often in the past, we must contemplate the face of Christ, for without Him we can do and be nothing.”

Archbishop Costelloe added that it is important for those chosen to work within the context of the Catholic Church and its ministries to conduct themselves as “proclaimers of the Gospel.”

As the book of Proverbs says, “Keep your mouth free of perversity, keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet, and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left, keep your foot from evil,” he said.