God's temple - Blessing and Opening of Penola Building at Sacred Heart College, New Town 2017

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Home > Archbishop > Homilies > God's temple - Blessing and Opening of Penola Building at Sacred Heart College, New Town 2017

As a part of our blessing and opening ceremony today, we have just listened to a text from St Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. It is clearly an appropriate reading for the opening of building as it speaks about laying foundations. It also says that each builder must choose with care how to build upon the foundations.

Of course, St Paul is not offering building advice. He was a tent-maker by trade – not a builder.

He is talking about spiritual buildings. On a number of occasions he likened the Church to a physical building. In the reading we have just listened to, St Paul describes the Christian community in Corinth as “God’s temple”. A very interesting idea. He is saying that a Christian community is a place where God’s Spirit abides. What does he mean?

St Paul is aware that a Christian community is not just a group of people united by common beliefs. The Church is not just an organisation. It is not just a group of people who have formed a community. He sees the community as being fashioned into a unity and being animated by the Holy Spirit. Every Christian community has a source of its common life and mission in the presence of the Holy Spirit in its midst.

This presence may be invisible – as indeed it is – yet it is very real. We may not often find ourselves alerted to the presence of the Holy Spirit, but that is not to say that the Spirit is not active. It is like breathing: we don’t often think about our breathing, but it is essential to our life.

And the Holy Spirit is essential to the Christian life and to the Christian community.

We can apply this idea to a school community. Sacred Heart School community exists because of the Catholic faith that gave rise to its existence. This school came into being because parents, priests and religious wanted to provide a place where young people could be formed in the Catholic faith as they underwent their education. They knew that faith in God was a vital component to any person’s education and growth. Faith was to be a foundation to all that occurred in the school.

This school is named ‘Sacred Heart’ in honour of an extraordinary revelation of the Lord to a young nun in Paray-le-Monial in France in 1673. He revealed his heart to her as a heart that was burning with love for humanity. He asked her to promote a devotion to the Sacred Heart that people may come to know the depth and power of the love that is in the heart of Jesus.

The very name of this school highlights that it is animated by the Catholic faith and tradition.

A parish community - a school community - is a community brought together by a common faith in Jesus Christ. Christ is the inspiration to its life. It is finally the faith of the members of the community that make it ‘God’s temple’, a place where the Spirit lives.

I congratulate all those who have been associated with this refurbishment. I commend the skill of the builders and their dedication.

I acknowledge in the person of Senator Eric Abetz the assistance of the Commonwealth Government.

Archbishop Julian Porteous
Monday, 6 November 2017