Archbishop reflects on Port Arthur massacre

Hobart's Archbishop Adrian Doyle has used his Good Friday message to prepare the faithful for the imminent tenth anniversary of the Port Arthur massacre.

In 1996, lone gunman Martin Bryant killed 35 people and wounded 18 others in the popular tourist town about 100 km south-east of Hobart.

ABC Hobart reports that Archbishop Adrian Doyle reminded hundreds of worshippers gathered at St Mary's Cathedral of the significance of the anniversary.

"We'll be going through the experience of the 10 years since the Port Arthur tragedy," he said. "I think we have to just re-invigorate ourselves and just make sure that these things just simply never happen, that we make sure that the climate ... is such that these things won't occur."

The Mercury reports that pews at St Mary's Cathedral filled early and about 100 latecomers had to perch in a vestibule to watch the service from behind people already standing inside the crowded church.

The Archbishop said the 1000-strong congregation was the biggest in many years and that it had been lovely to see tiny babies, families and frail elders in the crowd.

He said his sermon's message had been simple and urged people to move forward with hope.

Also, in Perth, Archbishop Barry Hickey told the congregation at St Mary's Cathedral there that many people in society are burdened by tragedies and financial problems. "They are not alone - God is with them [and] that Christ has risen from the dead," he said.

Meanwhile, The Age reports that Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne Christopher Prowse's Easter homily concentrated on people's search for meaning and purpose in life.

He said church congregations were growing as people searched for spiritual answers in "today's confusing world". "They (Church congregations) have been growing in recent years, which is interesting because there's often a lot of pessimism about numbers at church," Bishop Prowse said.

In Adelaide, Archbishop Philip Wilson told about 2000 worshippers Easter is a reminder of the need to work towards peace and unity.

"When we see all the violence and hatred, we must not turn our back and turn away from that," he told the congregation at St Francis Xavier Cathedral. "We must reshape the world in which we live today and embrace the beauty of Christ."

The more people work in harmony, the more beautiful and energised the world can become, Archbishop Wilson said.

Brisbane's Archbishop John Bathersby said Easter was a time to celebrate victory over sin and death.

In Sydney, up to 3500 people crowded St Mary's Cathedral for mid-morning mass celebrated by Cardinal George Pell.

"The resurrection was the great sign that God has forgiven our sins, that evil and death will not have the last word," Cardinal Pell said in his 2006 Easter message.

Pictured: Archbishop Denis Hart at the Easter Vigil Ceremony at St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne

Archbishop reflects on Port Arthur massacre (ABC Hobart 15/4/06)
Cathedrals packed for Easter worship (The Mercury 17/4/06)
Don't ignore evil: churches (news.com.au/Australian Associated Press 16/4/06)
Congregations to hear messages of hope (ABC Perth 16/4/06)
Thousands turn out for Easter services (The Age 16/4/06)

Leaders call for truth in Easter (Daily Telegraph 16/4/06)
Crowds turn out for Easter services (The Courier Mail 16/4/06)
More at Church in Qld (The Courier Mail 16/4/06)
Crowds turn out for Easter services (Sunday Herald-Sun/Australian Associated Press 16/4/06)
Rising to the occasion (Herald-Sun 17/4/06)
Catholic service urges Easter peace (news.com.au/Australian Associated Press 16/4/06)
Big crowds at Churches (Ballarat Courier 17/4/06)

18 Apr 2006