Sunday Obligation Returns: Archbishop Costelloe issues Pastoral Letter emphasising importance of the Eucharist

18 Aug 2022

By Jamie O'Brien

Archbishop Costelloe elevates the body and blood of Christ during the ordination to the priesthood of Grzegorz Rapcewicz, Friday 12 August at St Mary’s Cathedral. Photo: Ron Tan.

Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB has this week issued a Pastoral Letter, re-instituting the Sunday Obligation from Sunday 4 September.

The Pastoral Letter, published Tuesday 16 August, addressed the whole Perth Catholic community, focusing on what it means for us to be a Christ-centred Church which is prayerful and Eucharistic.

“One of the acclamations which we say immediately after the Consecration invites us to remember that the Eucharist is the sacrament of our salvation: Save us, Saviour of the world, for by your cross and resurrection you have set us free,”the letter explains.

“In celebrating the Eucharist, we are celebrating, and being drawn into, the great mystery of our salvation: God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life (John 3:16).

Pope Francis greets the crowd as he leads the Angelus from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican July 17, 2022. Photo: CNS/Vatican Media.

“This gift of eternal life,” highlights Archbishop Costelloe, “is the fruit of the life, death and resurrection of Christ: the fruit of the paschal mystery in its fullest sense.

“But all of this celebration will only make sense to us if we recognise our need for salvation and acknowledge that, no matter how hard we try, we cannot save ourselves.

“This recognition will only come through an acknowledgement of the power of sin and evil at work in our lives. Such a recognition will require great honesty and courage from each one of us.”

In inviting the Perth Catholic community to return to the Sunday obligation, Archbishop Costelloe said that with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, he temporarily suspended the obligation in order to protect vulnerable people and to free them from any conscientious challenges they might have had.

A stained glass window of St Augustine of Hippoc in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Adobe.

“I believe that the time has come to remind us all again of the centrality of the Eucharist and of our need for the Eucharist. For that reason, I am reinstating the Sunday obligation, effective from the first Sunday in September, (Sunday, 4 September 2022).”

“If it is true that the celebration of the Eucharist is at the very heart of the life of the Church and is the most precious gift of God to the Church, then it is impossible to conceive of the Church without the Eucharist. Equally, it is impossible to conceive of a truly faithful, and faith-filled, living of the Christian life for a Catholic apart from regular participation in the Eucharist,” Archbishop Costelloe said.

Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, with Fr Franciszek Kot SDS, left and Salvatorians Regional Superior, Fr George Kolodziej SDS, during Mass celebrating consecrated life, at the Chapel of St Michael the Archangel, Leederville. Photo: Michelle Tan.

The Pastoral Letter, Archbishop Costelloe’s second in in as many months, also details the importance of the celebration of the Eucharist in the local Church.

If there is an obligation born of love to gather each Saturday evening or Sunday to celebrate the Eucharist, explains Archbishop Costelloe, there is another obligation, also born of love, which falls primarily on the clergy and on those who cooperate with them to animate the liturgy in the local parish.

“The gift of the Eucharist, like the gift of faith itself, comes to us from God who calls us into his Church through baptism and nourishes and strengthens this faith through our life within the Church.

“That God should choose us will always remain both an undeserved grace and a profound mystery.

“Our individual and communal stories of reluctance to respond to God’s call only deepen the mystery.

Applecross parishioners listen to Archbishop Costelloe during the Mass celebrating the 70th anniversary, Sunday 31 July, 2022. Photo: Michelle Tan.

“Surely, we might think, God could have chosen those who were more likely to live faithfully the gift of faith they had been given.

“But the stark, and beautiful, reality is that in God’s strange ways it is we who have been called and it is we from whom God is patiently awaiting a response. 

More to come in next week’s edition of The eRecord.

Click Here to read A Pastoral Letter to the Catholic People of the Archdiocese of Perth.