Most Reverend Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv DD STL, Bishop of Parramatta
Homily from vespers and Diocesan Awards, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta
08 August 2016
Tonight we have come to honour individuals who have given themselves in generous service of the Church and the community. They have followed the example of Christ who came not to be served but to serve and to give his life for others.
The honour we bestow on them tonight recognises not only what they have done but also the spirit of Christian service with which they imbue their environment and relationships. It is not so much the quantity of their deeds but the quality of their commitment. They share the honour with loved ones and others who have supported them and made it possible for them to give of themselves. In a way, the recognition is not just about them, it is about the Lord and all of us who are so privileged to be His instruments as we use our gifts and talents in service to the Church and our brothers and sisters, especially those in most need – a commitment we are all invited to renew this evening.
It is not so much the quantity of their deeds but the quality of their commitment.
It is appropriate that we gather for this ceremony on the feast day of our Patron Saint Mary MacKillop. Today, we honour the woman who exemplifies the best of Christian service. There is that sense of “going in to bat” for the battlers of life, to give a helping hand to the needy irrespective of colour, culture or creed; it is that sense of a “fair go for everyone”. In seeing Christ in every person, she was deeply appreciative of the dignity and worth of every person made in God’s image and likeness. We realise more and more the need for people to stand up for the lives and dignity of the needy and defenceless, the vulnerable and dependent and how the charism of Mary MacKillop stands as a blazing light of hope in our fractured and fractious world.
Mary MacKillop met the great challenges of her time with vision, passion and creativity. She challenged the status quo and envisioned new ways of living and sharing the Good News. May she intercede for us to do the same as we face the challenges of our time. May we also follow her example of making the missionary journey to our brothers and sisters in need and by our active discipleship, witness and engagement be the leaven for the Kingdom.