St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta,has been blessed with the appointment of their new Dean and Administrator, who has already received a warm welcome from parishioners. Having lived overseas for the past five years, Fr Robert Riedling is very pleased to return as a parish priest in the Diocese of Parramatta.
Fr Robert, who was ordained in June 2005, has lived almost his entire life in the Diocese. He was born in Penrith and grew up in the Blacktown area. He joined the seminary in 1999, and was ordained a deacon and priest at the Cathedral, now in his care.
Following his ordination, Fr Robert served in the parishes of Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, Greystanes, St Michael’s, Blacktown South (before it became Mary, Queen of the Family Parish), and Padre Pio Parish, Glenmore Park.
Over the past five years, Fr Robert has been pursuing graduate studies in Sacramental Theology at Durham University in the United Kingdom, and was combining his theological studies with pastoral work serving in a local parish, coincidentally named St Patrick’s.
With the difficulties of living in the UK through the pandemic, and looking out for his elderly parents, Fr Robert decided to return to Australia, explaining that he realised how much he missed home, despite visiting his family regularly during study breaks.
“I didn’t know what to expect when I returned to Australia, but I’m glad it’s being a priest in a parish, whether it’s here or somewhere else in the Diocese. That’s what I want to do, that’s why I was ordained.
“I like that this Diocese is very vibrant and growing, and there’s lots happening within it – it shows that there’s a future for the Church in this area.
“I am looking forward to getting to know and serve the people of God in Parramatta, as together, we build God’s kingdom in our midst,” he said.
Fr Robert is grateful to the staff at the Cathedral for helping him settle in, and applauded the hard-working clergy, with whom he will be sharing his ministerial duties.
“Like any other parish, there are the little things you need to find out, like where the keys are, but there’s no rush for me to know everything straight away.
“As Dean, I am the steward for the Bishop, as the Cathedral is his parish. I am in conversation with the Bishop regularly to make sure that I’m doing what he expects of his parish.
“Being the Cathedral Parish, the Bishop sees this church as the mother Church of the Diocese, and he sees the mission of the church being most visible here.
“The Bishop is very keen that the vision of the mother church, which is reflective of that of Pope Francis, as mentioned during the installation, happens right across the Diocese, but certainly happens here,” he said.
Installation on 21 March
Fr Robert Riedling was officially installed by Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, during the Solemn Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral on Sunday 21 March.
“We offer our prayers for the ministry of Fr Robert as the new Dean and Administrator of the Cathedral,” Bishop Vincent said.
“St Patrick’s is pre-eminently the chief mission of its bishop, and, therefore, together we will implement a vision of a mother Church that is prayerful, missionary, prophetic, inclusive, collaborative, and oriented towards an ecclesiology of the people of God.
“I give thanks for Fr Robert’s generous partnership and yours in carrying out the mission of the Church in this time and in this place.
“Let this new beginning be the opportunity for us to deepen our sense of being a presence, an oasis of hope, a place where everyone can feel welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged to live the joy of the Gospel,” he said.
Watch Fr Robert’s installation Mass here.
View images from Fr Robert’s installation as Dean and Administrator of the Cathedral here or below.