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Host left at home of Lay Carmelite Pioneer

Dozens of Bishops from across Australia gathered to celebrate Mass on 6 May, 2018 at St Patrick’s, Church Hill to mark the 200th anniversary of the preservation of the Blessed Sacrament in the home of Lay Carmelite, James Dempsey. 

Father Jeremiah O’Flynn arrived in Sydney as unofficial chaplain to the Catholic community at the end of 1817. When after six months no official papers for him had arrived, he was deported. Whether by accident or design, he left a consecrated host behind in a pyx in either the home of William Davis or James Dempsey (or possibly both), according to The Catholic Weekly

In a colonial Church with no priest or Mass, and where Catholics were punished for refusing to participate in Protestant services, the reserved Sacrament became the focus of Catholic life. The laity kept daily vigil before the Blessed Sacrament during the many months until the first official Catholic chaplains arrived.

The site of both Davis and Dempsey’s historical residences are located in the parish of St Patrick’s, and the Church was built to commemorate the preservation of the Eucharist within the parish.

The anniversary recognises both 200 years of the Eucharist being preserved in Australia, and celebrates the faith of those Catholics, including Lay Carmelites, James Dempsey and John Butler, who kept vigil with the Eucharist until an official chaplain arrived.

All are welcome to this very special Mass, marking 200 years of Eucharistic devotion in Australia. Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, will be the principal celebrant at the 12pm Mass.

 

Source: The Catholic Weekly, Sydney

 

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A rule of life was given to the early Carmelites by St Albert Avogadro, Patriach of Jerusalem between the years 1206 - 1214. It was finally approved by Pope Innocent in 1247 and later underwent mitigations which were not in the original text.

The Carmelite Rule states that is basic for a Carmelite to "live a life of allegiance to Jesus Christ - how, pure in heart and stout in conscience, he must be unswerving in the service of his Master" [no.2].

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