June 29, 2016
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For Thailand Catholics, God's mercy exceeds limits of illness

Chanthaburi, Thailand, June 29 (CNA/EWTN News) .- Hundreds of sick and physically challenged people marked the Catholic Church’s Year of Mercy in Thailand with a special procession through the Holy Door of the cathedral in the Diocese of Chanthaburi.


Pope Francis mourns victims of 'heinous' attack on Istanbul airport
Prayer is the 'way out' of a closed heart and mind, Pope Francis says
Catholic, Orthodox Churches united by mercy, Pope says


'An ominous sign' – Supreme Court refuses to hear Washington pharmacy case
Prayers, rubber boots needed in wake of deadly West Virginia floods

Asia - Pacific

For Thailand Catholics, God's mercy exceeds limits of illness
He escaped Vietnam on a fishing boat, and now he's a bishop


Pope Francis mourns victims of 'heinous' attack on Istanbul airport

VATICAN CITY, June 29 (CNA/EWTN News) .- During his Angelus address Wednesday Pope Francis offered prayers for the victims of Tuesday’s deadly attack on an Istanbul airport, asking that God would convert the hearts of those who choose violence.

“Dear brothers and sister, yesterday in Istanbul there was a heinous terror attack, which has killed and wounded many people. Let us pray for the victims, for their families and for the dear Turkish people,” the Pope said June 29.

Late Tuesday night three suicide bombers blew themselves up in the entrance terminal of Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, killing 36 people and wounding more than 140 others, the BBC reports.

Ataturk airport is Europe’s third largest in passenger traffic behind London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle. According to reports, the three men, dressed in black, drove into the entrance terminal by car and opened fire, blowing themselves up only after police began to fire back.

Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that early signs indicated that the Islamic State was responsible for the attack, but so far no one has claimed responsibility.

Pope Francis offered prayers that the Lord would “convert the hearts of the violent and sustain our steps on the path to peace.”

In his speech before leading pilgrims in praying the traditional Marian prayer, the Pope noted how the day marked the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, who are the patrons of the city of Rome.

Francis noted that in the Gospel, Jesus had sent the disciples out two by two. In a sense, Peter and Paul were also sent out from the Holy Land to preach the Gospel in Rome.

Even though the two men were “very different from one another: Peter a humble fishermen, Paul a teacher and doctor,” they were still able to succeed in preaching the Gospel throughout the city, he said.

“If here in Rome we know Jesus, and if the Christian faith is a living and fundamental part of spiritual and cultural patrimony of this land, it is due to the apostolic courage of these two sons of the Near East,” the Pope said.

Regardless of the difficulties and risks of the long trip and the mistrust they surely encountered, the apostles left their homeland out of love for Christ and went to Rome, he said, calling them “heralds and witnesses of the Gospel” who “sealed with martyrdom their mission of faith and charity.”

Peter and Paul have returned to the city and are knocking on the doors of our houses, seeking to once again bring Jesus, his consolation and his peace to our hearts, Francis said.

“Let us welcome their message! Let us treasure their witness!” he said, and prayed that “the firm and forthright faith of Peter, the great and universal heart of Paul, help us to be joyful Christians, faithful to the Gospel and open to meeting all.”

Pope Francis then noted how he had blessed the pallium of the new metropolitan archbishops appointed in the course of the previous year, and offered special greetings and prayers for them and their families.

“I encourage them to continue with joy their mission and service to the Gospel, in communion with the entire Church and especially with the See of Peter, as the sign of the pallium expresses.”

Prayer is the 'way out' of a closed heart and mind, Pope Francis says

VATICAN CITY, June 29 (CNA/Europa Press) .- On Wednesday Pope Francis gave 25 new archbishops the pallium, encouraging them to remain strong in prayer, which he said helps in staying open to God’s surprises, rather than closing in on oneself.

“Prayer enables grace to open a way out from closure to openness, from fear to courage, from sadness to joy. And we can add: from division to unity,” Pope Francis said June 29, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul.

He pointed to the “clear contrast” between opening and closing in the day’s readings, beginning with three examples of “closing” found in the first reading from Acts.

The first appears when Peter is locked in prison, then the community gathers behind “closed doors,” and finally Peter knocks at the “closed door” of a woman named Mary, the mother of John called Mark, after being set free.

In each of these moments, “prayer appears as the main way out,” the Pope said, explaining that it’s “a way out for the community, which risks closing in on itself out of persecution and fear.”

It’s also a way out for Peter, “who at the very beginning of the mission given him by the Lord, is cast into prison by Herod and risks execution,” Francis said, noting how the Christian community had prayed for Peter while he was in prison. As a result, the Lord sends an angel to free him.

Prayer, “as humble entrustment to God and his holy will, is always the way out of our becoming ‘closed’ as individuals and as a community,” he said.

Pope Francis spoke to pilgrims gathered inside St. Peter’s Basilica for his Mass celebrating the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, patrons of the city of Rome. During the ceremony, he blessed the pallium to be bestowed on the 25 new metropolitan archbishops who were present, all appointed throughout the previous year.

The pallium is a white wool vestment, adorned with six black silk crosses. Dating back to at least the fifth century, the wearing of the pallium by the Pope and metropolitan archbishops symbolizes authority as well as unity with the Holy See.

The title of “metropolitan bishop” refers to the diocesan bishop or archbishop of a metropolis, namely, the primary city of an ecclesiastical province or regional capital.

Traditionally the Pope bestows the stole to the new archbishops June 29 each year. The rite is a sign of communion with the See of Peter. It also serves as a symbol of the metropolitan archbishop’s jurisdiction in his own diocese as well as the other particular dioceses within his ecclesiastical province.

However, as a sign of “synodality” with local Churches, Pope Francis decided in 2015 that new metropolitan archbishops will officially be imposed with the pallium in their home diocese, rather than the Vatican.

So while the new archbishops still journey to Rome to receive the pallium during the liturgy with the Pope, the official imposition ceremony is in their home diocese, allowing more faithful and bishops in dioceses under the archbishop’s jurisdiction to attend the event.

In his homily, Pope Francis also pointed St. Paul and his experience of liberation in finding “a way out of his own impending execution.” In addition to praising God for giving him the strength to evangelize, Paul speaks of “a much greater opening” to eternal life, “which awaits him at the end of his earthly race.”

By contemplating this passage, “we can see the whole life of the Apostle in terms of ‘going out’ in service to the Gospel,” he said.

Francis then turned to Peter’s confession of faith and the mission entrusted to him by Jesus. Jesus, he said, “shows us that the life of Simon, the fishermen of Galilee – like the life of each of us – opens, opens up fully, when it receives from God the Father the grace of faith.”

By responding to Jesus’ call, Simon Peter sets out on “a long and difficult journey,” but one “that will lead him to go out of himself, leaving all his human supports behind, especially his pride tinged with courage and generous selflessness.”

Francis noted how Jesus had prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail, and how he looked on Peter with compassion after the apostle had denied him.

At that moment, “Simon Peter was set free from the prison of his selfish pride and fear, and overcame the temptation of closing his heart to Jesus’s call to follow him along the way of the cross,” he said.

The Pope then turned to the scene in Acts when Peter, after having been set free, knocks on the door of Mary. The servant Rhoda, although joyful in recognizing Peter’s voice, doesn’t let him in, but instead runs to tell her mistress.

Pope Francis said that the account, “which can seem comical, makes us perceive the climate of fear that led the Christian community to stay behind closed doors, but also closed to God’s surprises.”

“This detail speaks to us of a constant temptation for the Church, that of closing in on herself in the face of danger,” he said, but noted that “the small openings through which God can work” are also visible, and can be seen by how many in the house “had gathered and were praying.”

Before concluding his homily, Pope Francis offered a special greeting the delegation sent by “the beloved” Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, led by His Eminence Methodios, Metropolitan of Boston.

Among the 25 new metropolitan archbishops to receive the pallium from Pope Francis was one American, Archbishop Bernard Anthony Hebda, who oversees the diocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Catholic, Orthodox Churches united by mercy, Pope says

VATICAN CITY, June 28 (CNA/EWTN News) .- Catholic and Orthodox Churches find unity in God's mercy and in the responsibility to spread the Gospel, Pope Francis said Tuesday to a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.

“Acknowledging that the experience of God's mercy is the bond uniting us means that we must increasingly make mercy the criterion and measure of our relationship,” the pontiff said during the June 28 audience at the Vatican.

“If, as Catholics and Orthodox, we wish to proclaim together the marvels of God’s mercy to the whole world, we cannot continue to harbor sentiments and attitudes of rivalry, mistrust and rancor.”

“For divine mercy frees us of the burden of past conflicts and lets us be open to the future to which the Spirit is guiding us.”

Francis received the delegates of Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, during their visit to Rome for the celebration of the June 29 solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. The two Apostles were martyred in the city during the 1st century, and are the principal patrons of the Church of Rome. It is a tradition for the Orthodox patriarch to send a delegation to the Vatican at the end of June for the occasion of the solemnity.

In his June 28 discourse to the delegation, Francis observed how this year's audience takes place in the context of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.

“I desired to proclaim the Jubilee as a favorable time for contemplating the mystery of the Father’s infinite love revealed in Christ, and for strengthening and rendering more effective our witness to this mystery,” he said.

Referring to Wednesday's feast, St. Peter and St. Paul had experienced both sin and “the power of God's mercy,” and thus became witnesses of the Gospel, the Pope said.

“As a result of this experience, Peter, who had denied his Master, and Paul, who persecuted the nascent Church, became tireless evangelizers and fearless witnesses to the salvation offered by God in Christ to every man and woman.”

Reflecting on the example of saints Peter and Paul, the Pope said “the Church, made up of sinners redeemed through Baptism, has continued in every age to proclaim that same message of divine mercy.”

Wednesday's solemnity calls to mind “the experience of forgiveness and grace uniting all those who believe in Christ,” Francis said.

Although there are “many differences” in liturgical and ecclesiastical spheres between the Church of Rome and the Church of Constantinople, there is a shared experience of God's love and the call to witness to the Gospel, he added.

“Beyond the concrete shapes that our Churches have taken on over time, there has always been the same experience of God’s infinite love for our smallness and frailty, and the same calling to bear witness to this love before the world.”

Pope Francis went on to laud the theological dialogue which has contributed to helping recover their unity before the Great Schism of A.D. 1054.

Addressing Metropolitan Methodius, who heads the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston and led Tuesday's delegation, the Pope expressed his appreciation for his work as co-president of the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation.

Instituted in 1965, “this Consultation has proposed significant reflections on central theological issues for our Churches, thus fostering the development of excellent relations between Catholics and Orthodox on that continent,” he said.

The pontiff also looked ahead to September's Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. “The task of this Commission is indeed precious; let us pray the Lord for the fruitfulness of its work.”

Francis went on to recall meeting Bartholomew I and Athens archbishop Beatitude Ieronymos II during his April visit to Lesbos, where they met with some of the thousands of migrants and refugees who had landed on island.

“Seeing the despair on the faces of men, women and children uncertain of their future, listening helplessly as they related their experiences, and praying on the shore of the sea that has claimed the lives of so many innocent persons, was a tremendously moving experience,” he said.

“It made clear how much still needs to be done to ensure dignity and justice for so many of our brothers and sisters.”

The Pope said it was a “great consolation” to share the “sad experience” with the patriarch and archbishop.

“Led by the Holy Spirit, we are coming to realize ever more clearly that we, Catholics and Orthodox, have a shared responsibility towards those in need, based on our obedience to the one Gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord.”

“Taking up this task together is a duty linked to the very credibility of our Christian identity. Consequently, I encourage every form of cooperation between Catholics and Orthodox in concrete undertakings in service to suffering humanity.”

Acknowledging the Pan-Orthodox Council which recently concluded at Crete, Francis concluded: “May the Holy Spirit bring forth from this event abundant fruits for the good of the Church.”

In a letter addressed to Pope Francis to mark the solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Patriarch Bartholomew lauded the efforts which have been made toward unity between the Churches.

“Our endeavors are nurtured by this endless source for the advancement of the journey toward the desired unity of our Churches,” he writes in the letter.

“The dialogue that continues between the Orthodox Church and the most holy Church of Rome is a domain that produces theological knowledge, ecumenical experience and mutual enrichment.”

The ecumenical patriarch also addressed the role of the Church in honoring “honors humankind created in the image and likeness of God.”

“This is why the word of the Church is and shall remain to the ages an intervention for the sake of humanity and its divinely-granted freedom.”

“Life in the Church incorporates, along with the Holy Eucharist, the splendid worship and life of prayer, the ascetic and internal struggle against the passions, as well as the resistance against social evil and the struggle for the prevailing of justice and peace.”

Bartholomew also addressed the unified commitment in addressing the challenges of today, citing for instance the ongoing refugee crisis.

“We are convinced that our common efforts and initiatives with regard to the global challenges of our time will continue because they constitute a good witness for the Church of Christ, serving humankind and the world,” he said.

At the same time, these efforts manifest and strengthen “our spiritual responsibility before the challenges of our time for the benefit of the Christian world and humanity as a whole.”


'An ominous sign' – Supreme Court refuses to hear Washington pharmacy case

WASHINGTON D.C., June 29 (CNA/EWTN News) .- The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear a conscience rights case raised by pro-life pharmacy owners came with a stark warning from the three dissenting justices who voiced concerns about the future of religious liberty in the U.S.

“This case is an ominous sign,” said Justice Samuel Alito. “If this is a sign of how religious liberty claims will be treated in the years ahead, those who value religious freedom have cause for great concern.”

Justice Alito wrote a dissent – joined by Justice Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice John Roberts – after the Supreme Court denied an appeal to hear a conscience rights case on June 28. The case challenged Washington state rules that required pharmacies to dispense abortion-causing drugs and prevented those who object to abortion from referring customers elsewhere.

Justice Alito said the rules could make a pharmacist unemployable if he or she has religious objections to dispensing certain prescriptions. Alito said there are “strong reasons” to doubt the regulations were adopted for a legitimate purpose.

“(T)here is much evidence that the impetus for the adoption of the regulations was hostility to pharmacists whose religious beliefs regarding abortion and contraception are out of step with prevailing opinion in the State,” he said.

In 2007, the Washington Pharmacy Commission began to require pharmacies to dispense the abortion-inducing drugs Plan B and ella. The commission made conscience-based referrals illegal.

The new rule had an impact on the owners of Ralph’s Thriftway, a grocery store and pharmacy in Olympia, Washington run by Greg Stormans and his family, who are Christians opposed to abortion.

They filed a lawsuit against the state to halt enforcement of the regulations. They argued that the regulations were a substantial violation of their right to freely exercise their religion.

In July 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit reversed a district court’s decision to suspend the regulations. The 9th Circuit said that the rules are neutral and “rationally further the State’s interest in patient safety.”

The Stormans and two other plaintiffs, pharmacists Margo Thelen and Rhonda Mesler, appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“All we are asking is to be able to live consistently with the beliefs that we hold, as Americans have always been able to do, and to be able to refer patients for religious reasons, as the medical and pharmaceutical associations overwhelmingly recommend,” Stormans said.

Kristen Waggoner, senior counsel with the legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, said it violated federal law to single out people of faith.

“All Americans should be free to peacefully live and work consistent with their faith without fear of unjust punishment, and no one should be forced to participate in the taking of human life,” she said. “We had hoped that the U.S. Supreme Court would take this opportunity to reaffirm these long-held principles.”

The rules make Washington the only state that does not allow conscience-based referrals. These referrals have the support of leading pharmacist associations.

The Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson had asked the Supreme Court to refuse the appeal.

“Patients should know that when they need medication, they won’t be refused based on the personal views of a particular pharmacy owner,” Ferguson said June 28. “The appeals court ruling upheld today protects that principle.”

Justice Alito’s dissent said that allowing conscience referrals serves both the rights of conscience and practical ends, given that pharmacies can only stock a small fraction of the more than 6,000 drugs approved by the FDA.

“The dilemma this creates for the Stormans family and others like them is plain: Violate your sincerely held religious beliefs or get out of the pharmacy business,” he said.

Justice Alito noted the district court’s finding that the regulations’ predominant purpose was to “stamp out” the right to refuse to dispense emergency contraceptives for religious reasons. He said the plaintiffs raised enough suspicions that the challenged rules “reflect antipathy toward religious beliefs that do not accord with the views of those holding the levers of government power.”

Alito said the case resembled a previous Supreme Court decision that protected practitioners of Santeria from a law intended to bar animal sacrifice. He said there is “similar evidence of discriminatory intent” in the Washington rules.

He agreed with the plaintiffs that the Washington regulations appeared to have been “gerrymandered” to restrict religious practice and moral objections, while also granting “broad” secular exceptions like allowing pharmacies to decline service for financial reasons.


Prayers, rubber boots needed in wake of deadly West Virginia floods

CHARLESTON, S.C., June 28 (CNA/EWTN News) .- Heavy storms dumped more than nine inches of rain in much of West Virginia last week, with the resulting floods killing at least 25 people and damaging or destroying thousands of homes and businesses.

It’s the worst flooding the state has seen in a least three decades. A federal disaster has been declared in three of the hardest hit counties, while a state of emergency has been declared in 44 of the state’s 55 counties due to the floods.

Bishop Michael J. Bransfield of the diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, the only Catholic diocese in the state, offered Mass on Sunday for the victims of the flood, and released a statement calling for prayers.

“We pray for those affected by this natural disaster, including those who have lost their homes and livelihoods; those who do not have electricity, food or clean water and, most importantly, for those who are injured and have lost loved ones,” Bishop Bransfield said. “Let us prayerfully remember those who died.”
“As floodwaters rise and recede, I ask you to please join me in praying for the protection of the brave men and women who are working to bring relief to our neighbors,” he added.

Patti Phillips, Director of Development and Marketing for Catholic Charities in West Virginia, told CNA that Catholic Charities is partnering with Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) in cleanup and relief efforts.

The most needed items right now include rubber boots, gloves, rakes and other items that can help with cleanup, Phillips said.

And while immediate help is needed, Phillips said it’s also important to remember that the process of rebuilding will be ongoing for the next several months.

“We have this immediate response where people want to come and help, and that’s beautiful,” she said.

“But if people give a thought to the time they may be able to offer in the coming months with a church group or parish group, they can contact us,” she said.

“We have a work camp program and many of our work camps end up working on disaster-affected areas and homes.”

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, offered his prayers and support to the people of West Virginia in a letter to Bishop Bransfield.

“Once again, the suffering of so many calls us closer to the Cross of Christ,” he said in the letter. “I entrust those who have died to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and pray all those affected will find strength for the recovery.”  

Archbishop Kurtz also expressed his gratitude for the generosity of the Church and for Bishop Bransfield’s witness in a time of tragedy.

“Amid the widespread pain we witnessed after the violence in Orlando and, now, the natural disaster in West Virginia, we also see how such events can draw us closer together as brothers and sisters in need of each other’s assistance,” he continued.

For more information on donating to the relief efforts through Catholic Charities, visit:

Asia - Pacific

For Thailand Catholics, God's mercy exceeds limits of illness

CHANTHABURI, THAILAND, June 29 (CNA/EWTN News) .- Hundreds of sick and physically challenged people marked the Catholic Church’s Year of Mercy in Thailand with a special procession through the Holy Door of the cathedral in the Diocese of Chanthaburi.

“As human persons our lives have limitations of sin. Some of our other physical limitations are illnesses, disabilities due to accidents and old age, for we are weak,” said Bishop Silvio Siripong Charatsri of Chanthaburi. “God helps us to look beyond our limitations, and the mercy of God will fill us with joy and grace in what we are lacking.”

Presiding at the Mass, Bishop Silvio in his homily encouraged the faithful with the theme from St. Paul: “When I am weak I am strong.”

Hundreds of sick people, those with physical disabilities, orphaned children and aged persons came from the many parishes of the diocese to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception for the June 12 event. The diocese is in the southeastern province of Chanthaburi, about 135 miles from Bangkok.
The jubilee opened with a symposium featuring testimonies and experiences from various persons with physical disabilities, who face challenges in life and gave witness to others.  

The group sharing panels included a number of pastoral workers, families, interpreters and the physically challenged members, including several members from the Thailand Catholic Deaf Association.

Some used wheelchairs, crutches or prosthetic aids in the solemn procession that closed the convention through the Holy Door, specially designated for the Year of Mercy. Some were assisted by assisted by pastoral workers, paramedics or their families.

After the procession, there were opportunities Eucharistic Adoration, confession and anointing of the sick.

Bishop Silvio heads the Thai Catholic bishops’ Office for Family and Youth. He was grateful for those who participated.

He told CNA that he was touched by the testimonies shared by the various participants who were sick or physically challenged.

“It is so heartwarming and touching to see their love and affection for Pope Francis, to listen to his teachings, and they really feel the friendship, warmth and inclusion in fraternity,” he said.

The bishop urged the sick and the faithful to never lose hope and faith in God. He said the event was a time for healing, but also for strengthening the apostolate for the sick by encouraging closer collaboration among pastors and caregivers.

Bishop Silvio said the Year of Mercy is an invitation to encounter God through acts of mercy, through the rediscovery of our faith and the deepening of spiritual life.

He noted Pope Francis’ statement that the corporal and spiritual works of mercy must never be separated.

The jubilee’s organizer, Fr. Peter Theerapong Kanpigul, is the national chaplain of the Thailand Catholic Deaf Association. He told CNA that through the jubilee, the people on the peripheries of the Church due to illness or disability “found that they are welcomed actively in the Church.”

He said their participation in the procession, the liturgy and prayers in the face of obstacles is “an inspiration for our life of faith and impels us to broaden our eyes of love and mercy.”

“We thank Pope Francis for giving us this Year of Mercy, and the sick people feel his tenderness of love and blessings despite being far physically in distance,” the priest said.


He escaped Vietnam on a fishing boat, and now he's a bishop

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, June 28 (CNA/EWTN News) .- In the 1970s, a teenager boarded a boat to escape the cruelty of war in his homeland of Vietnam. He landed as a refugee in a foreign land.

Now, he has been installed as the fourth Catholic bishop of Australia’s Parramatta diocese.

On June 16, Vietnamese native Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen, O.F.M. Con. became the new shepherd of the Parramatta diocese.

“I have taken many leaps of faith before, including the one that launched me literally onto the Pacific Ocean,” Bishop Nguyen said at his installation Mass at Parramatta’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

The bishop explained his episcopal motto “Duc in Altum,” which means “Go into the deep.” He connected it to his own struggle as a refugee.

Born in 1961 in Dong Nai, Vietnam, Nguyen entered St Paul’s Minor Seminary in the Diocese of Xuan Loc, located about 37 miles north of Saigon.

With the fall of Saigon in 1975, the communist authorities forcefully evicted all the seminarians from the seminary building, which they converted into army barracks. Tumult and persecution caused a major refugee crisis. People abandoned their homes and sought to escape the country on boats – becoming known as “boat people.”

The future bishop, at the age of 18, became separated from most of his family. He boarded a 55-foot-long boat with a few family members and 146 other refugees.

The journey was perilous and the destination was unknown. After time at sea, the closely-packed boat ran out of food, water and fuel.

But the passengers were saved when their boat drifted near an oil rig. The refugees were housed in a refugee camp off the coast of Malaysia.

After a year, Nguyen was moved to Australia. There, he faced language differences, cultural shocks, and even a few incidents of bullying.

He later entered the Order of Friars Minor Conventual, a Franciscan order, and was ordained a priest in December 1989. He went on to secure a licentiate in Christology and Spirituality from the Pontifical University of St. Bonaventure. He was elected as the Australian superior of the Friar Conventuals in 2005. He served as the order’s assistant general in Rome from 2008-2011, overseeing the Asia-Oceania region.

Pope Benedict XVI named him auxiliary bishop of Melbourne in May 2011.  Bishop Nguyen serves as the Australian bishops’ delegate for Migrants and Refugees and also chairs the bishops’ Catholic Social Justice Council.

At his installation Mass, Bishop Nguyen stressed his commitment to being “a bridge builder.”

“We must foster pathways across the political and religious divide to build not only a rich and strong Australia but also an inclusive and humane society and a responsible world citizen,” he said. He urged the faithful to take heed to Pope Francis’ counsel to be a Church “where everyone can feel welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged to live according to the Gospel.”

He voiced his commitment to Church renewal patterned on Christ: “the Church that dies to worldly power, privilege, clericalism and rises to humility, simplicity, equality and servanthood – the Church that might be smaller, poorer and humbler but hopefully more of a light and a sacrament of God’s love to the world.”

The bishop lamented “the flood of secularization that has washed away much of the Church we’ve known and loved.”

“We have been battered and bruised. We’ve been reduced in numbers and status,” he said. “What is more, we have to admit with the greatest humility that we have not lived up to that fundamental ethos of justice, mercy and care for those who have been hurt by our own actions and inactions.”  

Bishop Nguyen noted the sexual abuse crisis, voicing hope it will be “a catalyst for transformation.”

He also encouraged everyone to be part of the Church.

“There can be no future for the living Church without there being space for those who have been hurt, damaged or alienated, be they abuse victims, survivors, divorcees, gays, lesbians or disaffected members,” he said. “I am committed to make the Church in Parramatta the house for all peoples, a Church where there is less an experience of exclusion but more an encounter of radical love, inclusiveness and solidarity.”

The bishop’s mother, godmother and four siblings were present at the installation.

Bishop Nguyen succeeds Archbishop Anthony Fisher O.P., who was appointed Archbishop of Sydney.

The Parramatta diocese is about 14 miles west of Sydney. It is predominantly Catholic, with about 330,000 faithful in 47 parishes and 120 active and retired priests.



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