Fr Luis Fernando Montano Rodriguez (Fr Fernando) was installed as Parish Priest of St Bernadette’s Parish, Castle Hill on Sunday 20 August 2017.
Most Rev Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, celebrated Mass with the installation and delivered the homily.
“They say God works in mysterious and unexpected ways. Fr Fernando’s amazing journey to St Bernadette’s Castle Hill today is a proof of this,” Bishop Vincent said.
“For starters he is a Mexican, not one from South of the Murray but one from half the world away.”
“He came to Australia via Hong Kong where he spent many years as a missionary. This explains why he has been our Chinese chaplain.”
“A Mexican who speaks Cantonese fluently could have carved out a movie career in Hong Kong, perhaps as a nemesis of Jackie Chan. Instead Fr Fernando has been chosen to be your pastor,” he said.
The congregation enjoyed Bishop Vincent’s homily, which also contained important elements of his vision for the Diocese.
VIEW: Images from the installation.
The congregation included Fr Fernando friends and supporters from his previous parish, St Monica’s Parish, North Parramatta, from the Chinese Chaplaincy and also from the Latin American community.
Fr Fernando gave a brief speech after being installed by Bishop Vincent as Parish Priest of St Bernadette’s, Castle Hill.
“I want to thank God, the Father of all mercies, for the good he gives me to be an instrument of his kingdom in this parish of Castle Hill. I give thanks also to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who I personally venerate under the advocation of Guadalupe,” Fr Fernando said.
“Thank you also to Bishop Vincent, for being here this morning and giving me the responsibility for leading this parish.”
“Be assured, Bishop, that I understand my ministry as a leadership in service and I will do my best to bring your mission of a Church concerned for those in need and a Church close to the people in this area of our Diocese.”
“I want to be the parish priest for everyone. Thank you also to the parishioners here in Castle Hill. Thank you for the beautiful flowers that you sent me and also for your best wishes for my years of ministry in your parish.”
“I have been here one month already and I can see why this parish is described as ‘big, vibrant and energetic’,” Fr Fernando said.
“I hope you continue making St Bernadette’s your spiritual home, keeping the Eucharist as the source and climax of the Christian life and growing together as a parish that worships together and serves together,” he said.
The large and energetic congregation joined Bishop Vincent and Fr Fernando in the Parish Hall for cake and a light lunch.
The parishioners gave several speeches and presented Fr Fernando with a large Mexican themed cake. A group of Latin American Catholic women also sang a song to welcome Fr Fernando.