It was the 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time (8 October 2023) and the usual large crowd of the faithful gathered for Mass in the Sacred Heart Cathedral church. Bishop Michael Kennedy was presiding, and we were commissioning the Assistant Masters of Ceremonies.
You might be surprised to learn that one of my happiest and enduring memories from our recent Diocesan World Youth Day pilgrimage to the Holy Land and to Portugal is of our group of 44 young Catholics playing games, singing, and dancing together by the pool with childlike joy and enthusiasm on our final afternoon and evening together before beginning the long journey home.
I’ve just had a ‘new beginning’, or rather am currently living through a new beginning. I began my new ministry as the Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle on Friday, 17 March and so am still adapting. I’m getting used to: a new home, new people, new ministry, new ‘job’, new challenges, new systems, new environment, new culture – new everything! Well, almost everything.
I have recently returned from the Public Hearing of the Royal Commission into the response of Catholic Church authorities to allegations of child sexual abuse by John Joseph Farrell. The hearing has not formally concluded but has been adjourned. In due course the Royal Commission will publish a report on their findings and recommendations.