Bishop's Easter Message - 2013
We celebrate this Easter with a new Successor of Peter. May his election be part of the renewal in Christ, crucified and risen, that this season offers everyone.
With Catholics all around the world, I thank God that Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergolio sj has accepted election as Pope Francis and pledge our prayers for him and our willingness to receive and support his ministry to the whole Church. The Church is not a confederation, nor a corporation. It is a mystery of communion lived out in flesh and blood - in other words, in the difficulties and opportunities of human life in all its intricate reality. The Pope’s ministry guides and protects this communion of the Church on earth. In a particular way, I make this pledge as a bishop. In my communion with the Bishop of Rome, the one Catholic Church is fully present in the Diocese of Bathurst.
The Petrine Ministry is unique and vital for the life of the Church. Above all, we look to the Pope to ensure that the Word of God is proclaimed in fullness and fidelity. This living tradition guards us from error as we seek the words and practices needed to proclaim the Gospel in our time.
This should not make us forget that each member of the Body of Christ bears his or her responsibilities too. In fact, it should awaken in each of us the baptismal call to play our part in carrying out the mission that Christ has given.
As we prepare for a Diocesan Assembly, we pray that the same Holy Spirit who will guide Pope Francis in his work will guide us too. The Assembly will gather in Bathurst over the Pentecost weekend (17th-19th May). In it, we will consider our mission as a local church.
This is not just about fashioning a better organisation. Whatever plans and structures may emerge from these deliberations will be only instruments and means to carry out the Church’s mission. That mission is to proclaim, by word and deed, that Jesus Christ is alive in the community that bears his name. It is to spread the good news that everyone is invited into a new relationship with God in Christ, where we can find the peace that is the fruit of forgiveness and the pledge of eternal life.
By now, your parish will have chosen its representatives for the Assembly. It would be a good idea to know who they are and contact at least one of them to share your thoughts on how we are living our mission. And I invite you to take part in one of the coming regional meetings, in Bathurst, Dubbo, Canowindra, Coonabarabran, Mudgee and Orange, which will precede the Assembly.
During these 50 days of Eastertide, together in the Mass, we read again the Acts of the Apostles. In those first days and months of the Church, we can see the Spirit at work, even in the midst of external and internal troubles for the new communities. Our troubles and our opportunities are different today, but the same Spirit desires to make the same Christ present in our midst for all humankind.