|The Catacomb Era of Australian Catholicism|
|Written by Sherry|
|Monday, 23 July 2007 10:18|
From Catholic Online:
Last Friday, July 20, a year from the day of the final papal Mass, young and old alike united in one of the oldest churches in Sydney for what the coordinator of WYD '08, Auxiliary Bishop Anthony Fisher, dubbed "A Holy Hour of Power."
The evening began with a stunning rendition of the already popular WYD theme song, "Receive the Power," performed by young Catholic performing arts students.
Tears then sprang to the eyes of some of those gathered as they witnessed a screening of Benedict XVI's most recent audience emphasizing his encouragement in the Australian mission.
But following some more song, Scripture and a personal testimony from ex-professional football player-turned WYD director of evangelization and catechesis, Steve Lawrence, it was really Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament who took center stage.
Then Bishop Anthony Fisher talked about this poignant moment in Australian Catholic history that I have never come across before:
He recounted the history of St. Patrick's Church as dating back to the early 1800s when the first Catholics in the nation tried to obtain a grant of land for a church and the government refused their request. Then, the only priest was expelled by the British Authorities, leaving behind just one consecrated Host.
But this didn't stop the Aussie Catholics witnessing to their faith, the bishop told us. The picture of persecuted Catholics gathering secretly for prayer was used to describe those early years as a "catacomb" era.
"The lay faithful continued to guard and adore Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament for an entire year … until another French priest arrived to consume it and say a Mass for them again," the bishop explained.