Parishes across the Archdiocese of Perth gathered as a community for the Easter Vigil Masses on Saturday, 3 April and Easter Sunday Masses on Sunday, 4 April, marking the triumphant resurrection of Christ from the dead and the conclusion of the Church’s Paschal Triduum.
At St Mary’s Cathedral, the core of the message delivered by Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB in his homily, encompassed the sentiments of the solemn yet joyous occasion; “Jesus is risen, He is alive, and He passionately desires to draw us into communion with Him, so that we too can experience, the joy and the reality of His resurrection.”
Archbishop Costelloe was joined by concelebrants including Vicar General, the Very Rev Father Peter Whitely VG, Cathedral Assistant Priests, Fr Richard Rutkauskas, Fr Carmine-John (CJ) Millen and Fr Garner Vergara and retired Cathedral Dean, Mgr Michael Keating, and assisted by Permanent Deacon Aaron Peters at the 11am Mass.
The Cathedral was packed at full capacity, adhering to the COVID-19 restrictions, with a livestream service delivered via the Cathedral YouTube and Facebook social media pages for those who were not able to attend Mass physically.
Recounting the Archdiocese’s past year’s celebrations that were affected by the pandemic, Archbishop Costelloe began his homily by giving thanks to God, for the opportunity to physically gather as a community this year, despite COVID-19 still affecting many globally.
“Last year, this Easter (vigil or morning) Mass was celebrated here in the Cathedral, not with a large crowd of happy people and a magnificent choir and musicians, but in an empty Cathedral with me staring into cameras as we all tried to find ways to manage the challenges presented to us by the Covid-19 lockdown,” Archbishop Costelloe cited.
“This year we must give thanks to God that in his providence we here in Western Australia find ourselves in a much better position.
“At the same time, we are conscious of, and pray for, our Christian sisters and brothers
around the world whose ability to gather as communities of faith to celebrate the resurrection of the Lord is still very restricted,” he added.
Archbishop Costelloe then reflected on the events which took place, leading up to Jesus’ death on Calvary – marvelling at Jesus’ fidelity, His self-sacrifice, and His total commitment to the will of His Father.
“But we can also be overwhelmed as we realise how far we are from showing these same qualities in our daily lives. As we recognise our own infidelities, our selfishness and our inconsistencies, how can we ever hope to follow such an example?”
“….Through the seeming finality of a shameful and agonising death, Jesus emerged triumphant into the fullness of life,” Archbishop Costelloe said.
“If He wants to join us in our failure, and stand with us there, it is because He wants to strengthen us for the time when God will bring us into a new life, a new beginning.
“Jesus carried the wounds of His terrible death in His risen body and we, too, will inevitably carry the wounds of our failures into whatever God has in mind for us. But the wounds will become a sign, not of shame but of God’s grace-filled victory, in us, over that shame, and our sin,” Archbishop Costelloe concluded.
At the conclusion of Mass, Fr Millen thanked all involved behind the scenes and those who served for the masses, leading up to the Holy Week. The St Mary’s Cathedral Assistant Priest also thanked those who were present physically and virtually, to partake in the celebrations.
Archbishop Costelloe, echoed similar sentiments, adding a special ‘thank you’ to the cathedral clergy whose duties extend beyond St Mary’s Cathedral – Caring for the Subiaco parish St Catherine Laboure Church, East Perth parish St Francis Xavier Church, the All Saints Catholic Chapel, Royal Perth Hospital, Mercedes College.
Watch or re-watch the livestream of the Easter Sunday 11am Mass: