Source: Catholic Outlook, Volume 19, June 2016
Dear clergy and people of Parramatta,
And so finally, the LONG wait is over (pardon the pun!). After 18 months without a bishop, you have been given one in the person of a Franciscan, an Asian Australian and a former refugee.
You can blame Pope Francis for appointing me as a rather unlikely bishop to one of the youngest, most ethnically diverse and dynamic dioceses in the country.
Indeed, I am very humbled by this appointment and grateful for the opportunity to serve the Church in Parramatta during this time.
For many, it has never been so tough to be a Catholic. But then, we need to remember that the tough times can be the blessed times.
The Church was not at its best when it reached the heights of imperial power in what was known as Christendom. Instead, the Church was at its best when it was poor, persecuted, without power and wealth.
Consistently, we true believers are challenged to be the beacons of hope in the midst of pain, suffering and despair. This tough time can be the catalyst for rebirth and transformation.
My motto is “Duc in altum” or “Go further into the deep”. I have taken many leaps of faith before, including the one that plunged me, literally, into the deep blue sea.
Now I am about to be cast into the deep interior of Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains, and I cannot help but feel daunted by what lies ahead.
Nevertheless, I make bold to move forward, trusting in the sustaining power of God and the support of the clergy and people of this great Diocese.
There is a saying that, “you sit on the old mat to weave the new one”. I am indebted to my predecessors who have all contributed significantly to the growth of God’s people in Parramatta.
I am particularly indebted to the Diocesan Administrator, Fr Peter Williams, and his team for the way in which they have cared for the people and led the Diocese during the interim. I treasure this past and want to build on it.
Although I can only walk in my own shoes, I would like to take their vision and carry things forward. It is together as clergy and people that we will listen to what the Spirit is saying to us in our context and with the help of the Word of God, discern how to live as brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ.
Duc in altum! A bishop must not be afraid to walk with his people in the new exodus to the fullness of life and love. It’s the place we can only reach with unwavering conviction and undying love for Christ and His people.
I humbly ask you to pray for me your new bishop to walk this path with fidelity, humility and perseverance.
+Vincent Long OFM Conv
Bishop of Parramatta
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Liturgical Reception and Mass of Installation
The Liturgical Reception and Mass of Installation of Most Rev Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv as the fourth Bishop of Parramatta will take place at 7.30pm on Thursday 16 June in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta. Due to the large numbers expected, the Mass will be streamed via an outdoor screen in Prince Alfred Park across the road from the Cathedral. It is recommended you bring a chair. Watch the live stream on the night at: www.parracatholic.org