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Locking in love for the Year of Mercy

Catholic love lock

Sign of love: Adam Burns sets up his love-lock on a sculpture at Brisbane’s St Stephen’s Cathedral.

MARRIAGE is on the horizon for Adam Burns and there’s a third person he’d like to publicly thank before tying the knot.

Mr Burns will place a heart-shaped padlock on Brisbane’s newest love-lock sculpture situated outside St Stephen’s Cathedral with fiancé Jade Henkes as a sign of their love for each other and the third person in their relationship – God.

“It’s a special time for me and to be able to signify that in a ritual is a special thing,” Mr Burns said. “To have a visible, tangible, physical thing to commemorate that, to mark (our marriage) is a really special thing.”  

Commissioned by the Brisbane archdiocese’s agency for promoting vocations, Vocation Brisbane, the sculpture has already drawn a handful of people looking to make a visible expression of their commitment.

While Mr Burns and his fiancé prepare for their commitment to each other, it’s also a chance to recall his initial plans to become a priest.

“This is actually six years since I entered the seminary so it’s just a whole other perspective at looking at commitment and love,” he said.

“Starting that journey thinking I was going to be a priest and now preparing to be married definitely adds that perspective from how God fits into my vocation.”

Mr Burns said his change of heart was only matched by God’s faithfulness, something he’s contemplating more with the jubilee Year of Mercy. 

“It’s funny how things come together in a way that eventually makes sense and how God uses that all as well,” he said.

“God brought us together; so it’s funny how God works.”

Unlike many trending locations displaying locks of romantic affection in Australia and Europe, Brisbane’s love-lock sculpture is open to the unmarried and even priests, and religious men and women.

Individuals searching for answers to their future can clip a padlock to the giant heart sculpture as a sign of prayer and discernment for their vocation.

Vocation Brisbane officer Patrick Ransom said the sculpture was also a practical way to consider God’s merciful heart in the jubilee Year of Mercy.

“During this Year of Mercy, Pope Francis encourages us to encounter the Mercy of God,” he said.

“The sculpture itself serves as a visual reminder of the merciful Sacred Heart of Jesus, standing visible to church-goers and passers-by alike.”

 Vocations director Fr Morgan Batt said the jubilee’s focus on mercy did not mean “pity” but derived from the Latin misericordia, meaning “to be tender-hearted”.

“This year asks us to lock in our commitment and vocation to be tender-hearted and therefore merciful,” Fr Batt said. 

People can secure their locks and pray Vocation Brisbane’s Heart Ritual prayer, available at or at their office at 229 Elizabeth Street, Brisbane.

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