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Romero Rock Mass rejoicing 50 years


On the last Sunday of July 1972, the first Rock Mass in Adelaide took place in St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral.

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The founder Sister Janet Mead RSM, who died in January, said at the time: “The Mass is a life-giver, a celebration which is to involve us all in as many ways as possible. We need to include young people’s music and language so they can express their concerns in the liturgy.”

Sr Janet spent time each week working with groups from schools, parishes, and YCW preparing themes, comments, prayers, music and follow up activities. She had the ability to connect with and inspire and involve people and those connections live on.

The Romero Community said central to the Rock Mass was, and still is, “its commitment to social justice and challenging of anything that fails to live up to the liberating, revolutionary message of the Gospel”.

In the 1980s, refugees fleeing oppression in Central America came to the Mass bringing news  of Monseñor Romero who, like Jesus, stood up for the poor and dispossessed and demanded their liberation. Since then the Mass has come to be known as the Romero Mass.

“Thus the focus of the Mass has long been the treatment of refugees, the Indigenous, the homeless and poor in Australia and around the world,” the Community said.

“We pray for their needs but, as Sr Janet always said, prayers without action mean very little.”

After 17 years at the Cathedral, where in the early years more than 2000 people would gather, the Rock Mass moved to be more in the community and involving open space at the Church of the Holy Cross at Goodwood.

From there, 12 years later it moved to St Aloysius Church, Richmond, and then to Brompton. Currently it is held in the Mercy Angas St Chapel, part of St Aloysius College.

Now, half a century on, the weekly Mass continues to enliven, involve and uplift the (much smaller) congregation.

The music continues to be contemporary and spirited, the atmosphere continues to be welcoming, the liturgy continues to challenge and the gospel continues to be interpreted as the story of a revolution that places the poor, the disposed and the marginalised into the centre of our lives.

Everyone is invited to the 50th birthday celebratory Mass, to be held at 5.45pm, Sunday July 31, at 34 Angas Street, Adelaide in the St Aloysius College undercroft. For further information phone 8232 0048.


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