Friday, 12 June 2009

'Archblogging': An Australian bishop (or two) join the ranks of bloggers!

Australia's bishops are not (except when resigning for reasons they would rather not make public), in the main, media shy types - Compass puff pieces such as that on the (now ex-) 'bishop of the Universe' aside, Cardinal Pell of Sydney has a weekly newspaper column and Archbishop Hickey of Perth produces regular podcasts of his homilies for example.

And now Archbishop Coleridge of Canberra has joined their ranks, launching a blog devoted to a pilgrimage he is about to lead devoted to St Paul.

In the Steps of St Paul

The blog, called In the Footsteps of St Paul, already has a few posts, and will also include contributions from the Archbishop-Emeritus of Canberra-Goulburn, Archbishop Carroll, and Neil Harrigan (CEO of Centrecare Canberra).

A sample from the latest post by Archbishop Coleridge:

"Now that my meetings in Rome are behind me, I can begin focusing on the Pilgrimage in the Footsteps of St Paul. I’m staying at the moment at the Beda College where we have Dominic Byrne studying for the priesthood. The Rector, Monsignor Rod Strange, is an old mate of mine and I always find the hospitality there first-class. It’s all the more welcome after a few quite gruelling months in the Archdiocese and a couple of fairly intense meetings in the Vatican.

One of the the things I’ve always liked best about the Beda College - dating back to when I taught here - is that it’s just across the road from the Basilica of St Paul’s Outside the Walls.

It’s one of the great churches of Rome and is built over the tomb of St Paul which is now splendidly on view after excavations beneath the papal altar. In fact the whole Basilica looks magnificent after the work that’s been done to prepare for the Year of St Paul.

When Paul was beheaded the disciples came and took his body for burial in what was then Lavinia’s Vineyard. Lavinia seems to have been a wealthy Roman matron who owned land and had become Christian. She was happy to have Paul buried in her vineyard.

Eventually a small shrine was built over Paul’s grave and it became a place of great devotion. When Emperor Constantine began to shower favour on the Church he built over the grave a magnificent basilica, as he seems to have done everywhere he could.

That was replaced in time by a still larger church very like the one we see now. Much of that church was burned down in 1832, but the decision was taken to rebuild immediately and in the same style. So the Basilica you see now is very like - if not in every detail - the church that went up in flames.

Fortunately, some of the great mosaics survived and there are magnificently on show to this day...."

1 comment:

Felix said...

Good on His Grace! And prayers for the success of his pilgrimage.

By the way, anyone knowing him will recognise that this is his ipsissima verba.