Most Reverend Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv DD STL, Bishop of Parramatta
Address during Solemn Vespers and the Presentation of the Diocesan Awards at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta on the Solemnity of Mary of the Cross MacKillop, Diocesan Patroness.
8 August 2022
It has been another tough year on many fronts. Yet the grace of God has enabled us to not only weather the storm but to grow in our mission. I am proud of the fact that the works of the diocese have not been diminished. Instead, we have been able to support our services and our staff. We have worked with one another in an array of Church-based organisations to show the merciful face of God to others. Many have given much of themselves without much fanfare.
They have followed the way of God in the values of love, compassion, service and abundant life for all. In the words of St Paul, they have put the supreme advantage of knowing and serving Christ above all else. Tonight, we have come to honour the spirit of selfless and generous service with which they have contributed to the life of the Church in a variety of ways.
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.
To every one of you for the part you have played, to your spouses and loved ones, I say thank you for the hidden, quiet but no less important part you’ve played. You’ve allowed your spouses or loved ones to do someone else’s work. You’ve picked up the slack at home. You’ve walked with the diocese the extra mile for which I am deeply grateful.
Today, we honour Australia’s first saint Mary MacKillop showed us what a life radically oriented to God’s kingdom looks like. She took a prophetic stance not simply in providing affordable quality Catholic education and health care to the poor masses but fundamentally in meeting the great cultural challenges of their times. “Never see a need without doing something about it”. In acting out of a strong passion for the Kingdom and a visceral compassion for the suffering, she brought about a fresh hope for others.
No matter who we are and where we are on the journey, we are united by the Kingdom vision of Jesus. Let us put into action a new paradigm of shared humanity, equality, inclusion and human flourishing. May the example of St Mary MacKillop inspire us to embody the kingdom vision of Jesus and become a lighthouse for the world.