I am aware that the first Sunday in February (Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time) has been designated by the Australian bishops as Word of God Sunday, typically held on the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time in other parts of the world.
In March 2020, Pope Francis announced that the theme for the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October 2023 would be “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission”.
This first day of February marks the beginning of my work year in the Diocese. We are still living in uncertain times, and I am conscious that many are feeling the anxiety, stress and strain of the past two years.
It is difficult to know how to begin this week’s message, with the news of the death of Bishop Bill Wright. Like me, many of you may have been thinking of him and holding him in prayer over the past few months, but nothing prepares you for the finality of someone not being there anymore. I have been struck lately by his empty chair in our Cathedral, and now it is really empty as we await a new Bishop.