Bishop Vincent’s address at the blessing and opening of St Hedwig Retirement Village, Blacktown

By Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, 3 June 2024
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, is seen during the blessing of the new St Hedwig Retirement Village in Blacktown on Saturday 25 May 2024. Image: Catholic Healthcare/Supplied


Most Reverend Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv DD STL, Bishop of Parramatta

Address at the blessing and opening of Catholic Healthcare’s St Hedwig Retirement Village, Blacktown

25 May 2024


Dear friends,

Today, we gather to thank God and to invoke his blessing upon the redevelopment project here at St Hedwig Retirement Village, which has come to completion after much planning, hard work and patience. I congratulate Catholic Healthcare, who have worked in close partnership with the two German-speaking communities, St Raphael and St Christophorus, in bringing about such a marvellous expanded facility for the residents, present and future. We give thanks to the architects, builders and all those who through their shared vision, dedication and expertise have made this project come true.

We rejoice and look forward with confidence to a new and exciting chapter for St Hedwig. Not only will they enjoy wonderful lifestyle amenities that are on offer here, but they will also be provided with the care, support, ethos, tradition and spirituality of a deeply Christian character through connected and inclusive communities. Indeed, today is a celebration not just of fabulous buildings and physical structures, but above all, social bonds that are created, lives that are transformed and relationships that are affirmed and enhanced.

The scriptures we have heard speak of the transformation through the witness of Christian values. St Paul in his letter to the Philippians recalls how the Gospel has impacted their community. They have absorbed the teaching of Christ and become the model for other fledgling communities. Even though he is in chains and facing expulsion from Greece, Paul writes with exquisite confidence and elation.

This sense of confidence also overflows from the words of Jesus at His first public appearance. He presents to the people at the synagogue a vision of His life and ministry. Healing the sick, bandaging the wounded, lifting up the downtrodden and proclaiming the Good News to the poor. This is His personal manifesto and plan of action. Where Jesus goes, people experience the power of God’s unconditional and inclusive love. He does not simply do good deeds to others. He shows how God’s alternative value system works by privileging the least and the last. Jesus shows that God is the companion and the champion of those who are shunned by society, who have no voice and no power.

As we give thanks for the completion of this redevelopment project, we commit ourselves to the transformation of lives and relationships that Jesus showed us. We are mindful that there have been many who lived and enriched this place with their sacrifices and contributions, including the pioneers in times past. In a spirit of gratitude, we pay tribute to their dedication. We remember them to God for all that they have given us.

It is now our turn to build on their legacy and make this place worthy of their memory. Let St Hedwig be filled with the spirit of the living God and that everyone here experiences something of His beauty, love and power. Let it truly be an oasis of peace, a place of safety, welcome and enrichment. In the words of St Paul, we pray that he who began this good work among us will bring into fulfilment by the day of Jesus Christ our Lord.


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