Melbourne Lord Mayor to join Archbishop in City Square
This afternoon at 5:00 pm, Archbishop Denis Hart and the Lord Mayor John So, will offer Christmas messages to the people of Melbourne in the City Square.
The Archdiocese is hosting its "Jesus is Christmas" Festival of carols and prayers in front of the new nativity scene, in the City Square (Car of Swans ton and Collins Streets), each day until Thursday this week, from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
On 8 December, the Melbourne City Council opened a nativity scene in the Melbourne City Square. This follows representation from Catholic youth last year, who made a "peaceful witness" in front of the Melbourne Town Hall, asking the City Countil to budget for a public nativity scene in their Christmas decoration budget.
Hundreds of shoppers and business people from the CBD signed a petition to the MCC asking for a nativity scene to be included in the 2005 festivities.
The Archdiocese has congratulated the Council for its willingness to respond to such a request from the public.
Archbishop Hart said: "By providing a nativity scene in the heart of the city, the City Council honours the vast majority of people from Melbourne who are Christian. Many people from other religions also acclaim the greatness of Jesus Christ."
Archbishop Hart noted that society "has an habitual forgetfulness of God". Christmas is a time, he said, "to acknowledge the spiritual and transcendent in society. We ponder at a deeper level the important things that God gives - life, love, giving of self, respect and hope".
Choirs and a large gathering of people of all ages will be present at today's event. Many will be distributing Christmas cards and offering prayer support, especially to those who find Christmas time particularly challenging.
Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne and Melbourne City Council work together (Jesus is Christmas Festival, Archdiocese of Melbourne, 19/12/05)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Jesus is Christmas (Archdiocese of Melbourne)
City of Melbourne - Nativity Scene
Christmas in Pakistan: inter-faith dialogue and spiritual renewal (AsiaNews.it 19/12/05)
Christmas tree lit in St. Peter's Square (Catholic World News 19/12/05)
Christmas Tree a Sign of Christ's Light, Says Benedict XVI (Zenit 18/12/05)
20 Dec 2005