A future of trust and hope

Most Rev Bede Heather DD Installation
Most Rev Bede Heather DD on the day of his installation as the first Bishop of Parramatta in 1986. Photo: The Catholic Weekly.

Holy Name of Mary Rydalmere Parish Priest Rev Peter Lamont is celebrating his 25th year of priesthood in the same year as the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta's Silver Jubilee (1986-2011). Fr Peter looks back on the early days of the Diocese - and forward to a future guided by God's plan for each of us.

Twenty-five years ago in May 1986, Most Rev Bede Heather DD was installed as the first Bishop of Parramatta. He invited me to be the Deacon for the Mass of Installation, which was indeed a great honour.

I had studied for the priesthood at St Patrick’s College, Manly, as a student for the Archdiocese of Sydney. Blacktown was my home, so coming to the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta was, for me, a natural progression.

There was a buzz of excitement at the Mass itself, especially with the reading of the proclamation establishing the new Diocese. Bishop Bede spoke of the future with its many hopes and dreams. The Catholic Church in Western Sydney, like the area itself, was continuing to grow and expand.

In May 1986, I was exercising my diaconate at Sacred Heart Parish, Mona Vale. My thoughts were constantly centred on my own priestly ordination just six months away.

I was eventually ordained a priest in St Patrick’s Cathedral by Bishop Bede on 22 November 1986. It was an occasion of profound joy. I felt the abiding presence of Our Lord and Our Lady.

Jesus Christ has always been with me, and has walked with me my entire life. As a priest I have the immense privilege of bringing Jesus sacramentally and personally to the people of God, and indeed to all people.

I thank God for my silver jubilee of ordination to priesthood, my late parents and family, Bishops Bede, Kevin and Anthony, and the many priests, religious and people who have been part of my life.

After 25 years our Diocese can look to the future with trust and hope in God’s loving plan for each of us.