THERE'S a growing conviction out here that next ycar Pope Paul will pay his second visit to Australia and attend the 40th International Eucharistic Congress in Melbourne.
In Rome recently, he told Arcl-aizhop Knox and Fr. Brian Walsh, Congress executive director, that it was too early for him to be definite about anything so far ahead.. But this is his usual approach to well-in-advance invitations, and both Archbishop and priest returned to Melbourne pretty confident that, unless something extraordinary prevents him, the Pope will be present at Melbourne's biggest religious event.
Then, more recently, Archbishop Cahill of CanberraGoulburn returned home after seeing Pope Paul and said there was sound reason to hope that the Pope would be in Melbourne during the Congress, planned to run from February 10 to 25, 1973. Here in Sydney, too, the grapevine reports the prospects good.
Likewise, the Premier of Victoria, Sir Henry Bolte, who officially invited the Pope to his capital when he was in. Rome last year, reported that Pope Paul had expressed "a deep desire to be with us in .1973." Sir Henry, a non-Catholic. is among the Congress committee's most enthusiastic supporters.
Meanwhile, arrangements for the Congress are well advanced. In Melbourne recently, I visited committee headquarters and was impressed by the enormous amount of organising work that is being done by lay people on a voluntary basis.
One of the most impressive features of the present year's Pastoral Renewal drive, which prepares the way to the Congress itself, is that, taking the lead. no fewer than ten other Christian bodies have joined the Catholic Church in finding, during 1972, an opportunity within their own Churches and through combined action, to accept and enjoy a richer life in Christ."
The Catholic Church has a three-phase study programme in preparation for the Congress; the Churches of Christ have a "Strategy for the Seventies" renewal programme, and the Anglicans. under ecumenical Dr. Frank Woods, Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne, have a Christian education drive.
The Victoria Council of Churches is co-ordinating the programmes within a general "Year of Renewal" and a joint letter by the leaders of all 11 bodies has also been signed by the Greek Orthodox and Serbian Orthodox Churches. the Salvation Army, the Society of Friends, the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Presbyterian and Methodist Churches and the Congregational Union of Victoria.
Various ethnic . groups of migrants living in the Melbourne Catholic Archdiocese are also taking part • in the Renewal Programme under the direction of Fr. John Raccanello, C.S. He is officially priest-in-charge of Pastoral Renewal for Melbourne's Italian community. but his effort also embraces Dutch, Latvian, Maltese. Mauritian and others.
Australia's first Festival of Christian Art is also to be held in conjunction with the Congress.
This 40th International Eucharistic Congress is to have a "new look" in that it will be presented in a much simplified and far less expensive form than some previous Congresses. But this does not mean that it will not cover a tremendously wide range of features, or be any less impressive, spiritually in particular, than its predecessors.
Nuns are news
ISTER MARY FELIX, of the Sisters of Charity, has designed one of the wor'ld's most modern operating theatre complexes for a new live million dollar private hospital her order is opening shortly, next to St. Vincent's Public Hospital, which it also runs in Melbourne.
Sister Mary, head of the hospital's intensive care unit, has travelled extensively as a nun both in England and the United States, studying operating theatres, although not with the design for this new one in mind. When plans for the private hospital were drawn up two years ago. she asked if she could design the theatres and the architect agreed.
The complex consists of four operating theatres linked by a room for sterilising equipment, and changing and preparatory rooms. It works on a "flow-on" conceptpatients are prepared for operations in small anterooms, then wheeled into the theatres.
After an operation the operating table and instruments pass through the sterilisation chamber into another theatre. Sister Mary Felix says the system would permit an operation to be performed at five minutes' notice.
A hospital theatre sister all her religious life, Sister Mary Felix 'believes she is the first nurse in Australia to design operating theatres. "It's alike someone making a frock—if you don't have a pattern and you know what you' want, you can make your own design," she says.
Sister Mary Treacy, of the Little Company of Mary (Blue Nuns) who graduated with second-class honours in medicine from New South Wales University last year, has, been appointed a resident medical officer at Wagga Base Hospital.
Dr. Treacy and another nun in South Korea are believed to be the only two members of their order who are practising doctors. She said she had given no thought to studying medicine until it appeared there could he problems in fully staffing a medical clinic which the Blue Nuns started in 1963 at Kang Neung, South Korea.
Sister Ruth Eger, of the Sisters of Mercy, has been appointed a pastoral worker in the Morphett Vale parish, Adelaide, South Australia. Archbishop Gleeson and diocesan consultors have approved her undertaking experimental work on behalf of her order.
She will do "much of the pastoral work ordinarily done by a priest," including helping catechists who teach in State schools, teaching, visiting parishioners in the 7,000-family parish and working with groups such as the Christian Life Movement. She will also be a member of the parish pastoral council.
Sister Ruth joined the Mercy Sisters 18 years ago and has trained na a nursing sister.
AT a time when "gimmick Christians" and the hairy apostles of every conceivable type of "ism" -tend to hog the limelight, I have been delighted to see the amount of space newspapers have devoted, in genuine admiration, to that humblest of the humble Servants of Gad, Mother Teresa, during her present visit to
Australia. Pictures of her in her familiar dingy sari and bestowing that famous irresistible smile on all about her have appeared on front pages everywhere.
"Love is a Quiet Little Nun from Calcutta." said one headline. "Quiet Little Nun who Loves the Unloved," said another. And, drawing on Malcolm Muggeridge's title for his book on Mother Teresa, "Something Beautiful for God," one reporter announced the tiny nun's arrival thus: "Something beautiful from Calcutta arrived in Australia yesterday--the frail, sari-clad figure of Mother Teresa."
Mother Teresa has a home for destitute men in Fitzroy. one of Melbourne's poorest quarters. She plans also to have a novitiate to train young nuns for her order, the Missionaries of Charity, so that she can accept the invitation of bishops in New Guinea, Darwin and Perth to set up centres to help aboriginals. She hopes, too, to be in Melbourne for the Eucharistic Congress.
In Australia, Mother Teresa has preached her great gospel of love and humanity. "There arc so many unloved and unwanted." she said. "I think it is because so many people who have wealth are too interested in getting more to notice them or care about them. We want to show them that they are loved . . . There must be some sacrifice in love — love feeds and grows on sacrifice."
And here is a short editorial from Australia's national news
paper the Australian: "It would be ridiculous to impute irony to Mother Teresa, the philanthropic head of a religious order now visiting us from India. She does not mean to be cutting or unkind, either.
"But it says something for the quality of Australian welfare — and for the young marrieds' habit of shuffling off grandma to live in a nursing home — that Mother Teresa should announce as an object of her tour the establishment of a Home for the Dying, in M elbourne."
Willl E waiting in a room at St. Mary's Basilica, Sydney. for Archbishop Freeman, I was intrigued to see among a number of ornaments a small golden fish mounted on a marble base and standing in a red plush lined case.
Inscribed : "At Thy will, I will let down the net," it has been presented to Cardinal Gilroy on his 25th episcopal anniversary by "the Sydney Italian fishermen."
Cardinal Gilroy, Archbisho.p Freeman's predecessor as Archbishop of Sydney, was a great friend of the Italian fishing community and every year went down to the sea to bless their fleet.
The Cardinal. who retired last year when he reached 75. now lives in a home for retired priests, conducted by the Little Sisters of the Poor, at Randwick, a Sydney suburb.