I received some happy news and some sad news this morning. But, in regards to the latter, perhaps we are just being selfish…
The happy news is, of course, that the Parramatta Diocese has a new bishop: none other than our beloved father-in-Christ, Bishop Anthony Fisher (who at 49 has been, for some years, the youngest bishop in Australia)!
In the next few months he will be packing his bags at Buruni, bidding farewell to his parishioners at Watson’s Bay (who I know will miss him), and heading west to the great new Cathedral of the relatively young diocese (est. in 1986) of Parramatta in Western Sydney. One wag – a reader of this ‘ere blog – has rather unkindly dubbed the new edifice “St Bunnings”. I can’t comment on the accuracy of that, as I have never been there. But perhaps a visit is now in order for Thursday 4th March – the date of the new incumbant’s installation.
According to the Parramatta Diocese website, Bishop Anthony said:
“I don’t come with any agenda apart from the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Church,” Bishop Anthony explained. “I want to hear from the priests and people of the diocese, their hopes, gifts and challenges, and learn from them… I have a passion for preaching, teaching and formation, and so I will be very interested in the distinctive contribution the Catholic Church makes in this regard in the Diocese of Parramatta.”
Well, that’s enough agenda to be getting on with, we reckon, as we have always held that the only things necessary to turn around the fortunes of the Catholic Church in Australia (besides real living faith, of course, and the power of the Holy Spirit to create it) is evangelisation and catechisation.
Bishop Anthony is famous for two things in general: 1) his great intellect which has put to work on the task of defending life from conception to natural death in his bioethical studies and teaching, and 2) being the head honcho organising the Sydney 2008 World Youth Day. He is less famous for having been my catechist and for confirming me into the Church shortly before his appointment to the episcopate and translation to the job of auxiliary bishop in Sydney – but in a twisted sort of way that God seems to enjoy, you can blame him in some way for the existence of this ‘ere blog.
We have tried to keep up our friendship with him over the years since, something very difficult when he lives 12 hours drive away and is so busy, but the children have been enjoying annual holidays at the Watson’s Bay “time share” (the flat under the presbytery) ever since they can remember – which brings me to the sad news: no more holidays at Watson’s Bay… I did say it was selfishness on my part. (Goodness me, first pride and then selfishness… I never did intend to use this blog as a on-line confessional…)
The last time that we were at Buruni, His Lordship remarked that we had better come back soon if we wished to enjoy its pleasures again – before he was made “Bishop of Antartica”. Well, no such radical move for him. There were some on some blogs (eg. here) who prognosticated a seat in an inland capital, but (I know this always sounds silly to make such claims after the event) a source closer to home told me that he was a more likely choice for Parramatta. I won’t divulge the rest of that source’s predictions – except to say that he saw a much more senior posting to the see of Sydney when that seat became empty than the previously mentioned blog predicts.