Sydney, Australia, Nov 14, 2014 / 02:04 am
At his Mass of Installation on Wednesday, Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney said that by the time of his retirement, he hopes for a local Church filled with vocations to priesthood and the religious life.
"What will this Archdiocese look like when, God willing, I retire in 2035? My hope is for a Church in which the Gospel is preached with joy, the wisdom of our tradition mined with fidelity, the sacraments celebrated with dignity and welcome, and the seminaries, convents and youth groups are teeming with new life," he said in his Nov. 13 homily at St. Mary's Cathedral.
"That will depend hugely on three factors: our clergy and religious; our families; and our young people," the archbishop added at the Mass, the main celebrant of which as Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne.
Archbishop Fisher succeeds Cardinal George Pell, who in February was transferred from Sydney to be the prefect of the newly-created Secretariate for the Economy at the Vatican.
"Pope Francis said pastors should smell of their sheep," Archbishop Fisher said his homily, adding that "this is not a comment on clerical hygiene: it is an insistence that we are from and for our flocks."
"Pray, therefore, that I will always be a shepherd for Sydney after the heart of Jesus Christ," he urged.
Archbishop Hart stated that Sydney's new bishop "will teach, lead people to God in worship, and give generous service … knowledge of the people, being one with them, and walking with them where they are is so important. We wish him many years of dedicated and compassionate service."
"Archbishop Fisher is a gifted teacher whose gifts and vision will bring people to a vibrant appreciation of Catholic life, and will help our young people and families to move forward together in our modern society," he added.
Archbishop Fisher thanked all his family, friends, and diocesan clergy, and said that he "missed the people of Parramatta already." He had served as bishop there since 2010.
Archbishop Fisher, 54, was born in Sydney, and in 1987 professed perpetual vows in the Dominican Order, and was then ordained a priest in 1991. He served as an auxiliary bishop of Sydney from 2003 until he was transferred to the Diocese of Parramatta.
The Sydney archdiocese has 664,000 Catholics, about 27 percent of a population of almost 2.5 million. It has 484 priests and more than 1,500 vowed religious.