Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
19 Mar 2015
19 Mar 2015
In previous years Auxiliary Bishops for the Archdiocese, the Most Rev Julian Porteous, who is now Archbishop of Hobart, and Bishop Terry Brady have led the procession. But this year Sydney's Archbishop, the Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP who was installed last November, will celebrate Mass for the Unborn Child at St Mary's Cathedral and then lead the procession through the CBD.
"On average each year depending on the weather between 2500 to 3000 join the procession. But this year with Archbishop Anthony leading the procession, even though rain is forecast, we think the numbers will be at a record level and may even exceed 4000," says Paul Hanrahan, Executive Director of Family Life International which helps organise the Mass for the Unborn Child and the rosary procession each year in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Sydney's Life Marriage and Family Centre.
A leader and author in the field of bioethics, Archbishop Anthony was the founding Director of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family.
"He has been a strong advocate for God's precious gift of life and was a member of various Pro-Life groups campaigning against abortion when he was still a still a law student at the University of Sydney and before he entered the legal profession or began to discern his vocation as a priest," Paul says.
Each year in Australian more than 100,000 unborn children are aborted, losing their chance at life.
Each year the Day of the Unborn Child is celebrated on the nearest Sunday to the Feast of the Annunciation on 25 March. One of the most important Feasts in the Catholic liturgical calendar, the Feast of the Annunciation commemorates the day the Holy Virgin was visited by the Angel Gabriel and told that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus Christ, son of God.
Paul says the Feast of the Annunciation is the ideal time to remember and pray for the unborn child, particularly as we are now entering the final weeks of Lent.
Since the start of Lent, Paul and members of Family Life International as well as all those who believe in the sanctity of life have gathered to pray each day on the corner opposite Sydney's oldest and best known Preterm abortion clinic in Surry Hills as part of the annual 40 Days for Life prayer vigil.
Following Sunday's Mass for the Unborn Child which will be celebrated at St Mary's Cathedral at 10.30 am by Archbishop Anthony, the Archbishop will lead the praying of the Angelus after which he will walk in front of the procession down through the CBD and then back up to Macquarie Street to the NSW Parliament where different speakers will celebrate the sanctity of each and every human life, and the pray for the Unborn Child.
The procession will then return to the Cathedral for Benediction.
The Pope was welcomed to the center by Antonio Fullone, director of the Detention Center and it’s chaplain, Fr. Franco Esposito. The highlight of the visit came as he shared lunch with 120 inmates of the prison. His 12 table guests included an Argentinean and the overseer of the prison, some of whom were given the opportunity to ask the Holy Father a few questions.
For his part, the Holy Father addressed the detainees, expressing his happiness at being able to visit them.
He spoke at length with them and engaged in a spontaneous "off-the.cuff" conversation. In his prepared remarks that were handed to those present, the Pope said he came to bring them “the love of Jesus” who came to the world save everyone.
“At times you may feel disappointed, discouraged, abandoned by all, but God does not forget his children, He never abandons them!” he said. “He is always at our side, especially in times of trial; He is a Father who is "rich in mercy", who always turns towards us his serene and benevolent gaze, always waiting for us with open arms.”
The Holy Father went on to encourage the prisoners, saying that no matter what mistakes they committed in life, the Lord never tires of showing them the path that leads to Him and that “not even jail bars” can separate them from God’s love. “The only thing that can separate us from Him is our sin, but if we recognize Him and confess with sincere repentance, that very sin becomes the place of encounter with Him, because He is mercy” he said.
Acknowledging the many letters he receives from prisoners around the world, the Pope sympathized with them and the undignified conditions many find themselves in.
However, he also praised the work of the directors, chaplains, educators and pastoral workers who remain close to them. He also called for the development of a positive experience in prison life so that, once freed, detainees can contribute to both society and the Church.
Concluding his remarks, Pope Francis called on the prisoners to live every day in God’s presence. “Even in the midst of so many problems, even serious ones, let us not lose our hope in the infinite mercy of God and in His providence,” he said.
BISHOP OF MUNSTER, CARDINALClemens August von Galen was born on 16 March 1878 in Dinklage Castle, Oldenburg, Germany, the 11th of 13 children born to Count Ferdinand Heribert and Elisabeth von Spee.
His father belonged to the noble family of Westphalia, who since 1660 governed the village of Dinklage. For over two centuries his ancestors carried out the inherited office of camerlengo of the Diocese of Münster.
Clemens August grew up in Dinklage Castle and in other family seats. Due to the struggle between Church and State, he and his brothers were sent to a school run by the Jesuits in Feldkirch, Austria.
He remained there until 1894, when he transferred to the Antonianum in Vechta. After graduation, he studied philosophy and theology in Frebur, Innsbruck and Münster, and was ordained a priest on 28 May 1904 for the Diocese of Munster by Bishop Hermann Dingelstadt.