(Vatican Radio) One of the things Pope Francis has stressed over the course of this Jubilee of Mercy has been welcoming the stranger, especially at a time when migrants are fleeing areas of conflict in the world and looking to make a better life in Europe and in countries, such as Australia.
The city of Melbourne in Australia can boast a wealth of diversity and is the country’s most culturally diverse city with people from over 200 countries making it their home. In the Archdiocese of Melbourne itself groups including the Italian and Polish communities have been getting into the spirit of this extraordinary year according to their own traditions.
Listen to Lydia O'Kane's interview with Archbishop Denis Hart
The Archbishop of Melbourne and President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Denis Hart highlights the contribution they have made saying, “our cities and some of our country areas represent a great amalgam of people from all over the world leave peaceably, who work with each other.” On the issue of migrants he comments, “we have had vigorous interactions with the government about people who have come by boats and have been placed in the islands off Australia who are not allowed to come here while their criteria are examined and this has been something in which we’ve been saying to the government, “well we’re a big country, we have a small population, we have a high level of prosperity; it’s our duty to welcome migrants, it’s our duty to welcome those who really struggle””…
In his Archdiocese, the Archbishop says he has noted, “a greater awareness among people in parishes that living mercy means the corporal works of mercy; it means an awareness of a merciful attitude towards each other and a welcoming with mercy and humbly to all that come to the parish place of worship.”
Legacy of Holy Year
So what is the next step for this Year of Mercy and what legacy will it leave us? Archbishop Hart says, “I think the Year of Mercy calls us to humbly realize who we are, to realize that even in the difficulties that the Church has suffered from the offences of some priests and religious towards children and minors that it’s not merely the repairing of these awful ills but it’s a whole state of mind and a whole way of being the Church that Mercy, compassion, humility, living according to the Gospel is the only way to true life.”
The Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy concludes November 20th, the feast of Christ the King.