The following introduction was read at the beginning of a Mass on 20 May 2018, celebrating the centenary of the blessing and opening of Our Lady's church.
Seven years ago we celebrated the Centenary of the founding of Our Lady’s Parish East Brunswick.
Today we celebrate the Centenary of the blessing and opening of this beautiful church building, where generations over the years have gathered as caring communities to celebrate Masses and the Sacraments.
On Pentecost Sunday, in 1918, six months before the end of World War One, ten thousand people from all over Melbourne gathered on the vacant land around the church to see and hear Archbishop Daniel Mannix bless and open this church.
Daniel Mannix was one of several community leaders who opposed conscription in World War One. Many people at the church that day who shared his views, and many who had lost sons and daughters in the War, would have been very keen to hear him speak.
Over the last one hundred years issues have changed, but church communities still gather and pray about the needs and suffering of people in the wider community.
Since World War 2, Our Lady’s has welcomed many migrants from Italy, and from other parts of Europe and Asia.
In recent years, as part of the Catholic Parish of Brunswick and Brunswick East, we have welcomed refugees and asylum seekers. We have also gathered to express support for the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Abuse.
Our Lady’s Church has developed as a beautiful place of worship. It has also developed as a caring community in which people support each other. And in which people are aware of current issues and the suffering of people beyond our own community.
Significantly, today we celebrate the indigenous people who were the original owners of this site.