Commission for Ecumenism & Interfaith Dialogue

Bishops honoured with civic reception


Bishop Kevin Manning, Lord Mayor of Parramatta Paul Garrard and Bishop Anthony Fisher
Most Rev Kevin Manning DD, Lord Mayor of Parramatta, Cr Paul Garrard and Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP at the civic reception. Photo: Karen Steains.

By Virginia Knight

On Friday 2 July 2010, the Lord Mayor of Parramatta, Cr Paul Garrard, hosted a civic reception for Bishop Anthony Fisher OP and Bishop Kevin Manning at Granville Town Hall.

Councillors, local dignitaries and businesspeople gathered with many representatives from Parramatta diocesan ministries and local parish communities to welcome Bishop Anthony as the new Bishop of Parramatta and to acknowledge the long-serving contribution of Bishop Kevin who retired on 4 March this year.

In his speech, Cr Garrard thanked Bishop Kevin for his tireless dedication to the people of the city of Parramatta over the past 13, and added warmly “you will always have a home in Parramatta”.

In response, Bishop Kevin thanked the members of Parramatta Council for their cooperation during the rebuilding of St Patrick’s Cathedral, citing it as a place of reflection for all who live and work in the city.

He likened the relationship between the Catholic Church and Parramatta Council as a partnership in building up the social capital of the city.

“One of the highlights of my time in Parramatta has been the opportunity for inter-religious dialogue, probably one of the best in Australia and Council has always been supportive,” he said.

Bishop Kevin said he had an abiding interest in the city, its people and their welfare “and I pray for you daily. My time with you has been most enjoyable and fruitful and I thank you all sincerely”.

Working together for the common good

Cr Garrard then went on to extend a welcome on behalf of the people of Parramatta to Bishop Anthony.

“I know that all Catholics in Parramatta welcome you to your new leadership role, and we look forward to the important contributions you will no doubt make over the coming years.”

Bishop Anthony acknowledged the gracious welcome extended to him by the people of the Diocese and thanked them for their support.

“I undertake to pray for you and work with you as best I can for the good of the people of Western Sydney in the years ahead,” he said.

He recognised Bishop Kevin’s contribution to the Diocese, noting that “history will remember him as one of the great leaders of the area.”

Bishop Anthony spoke of the distinction between Church and state and the importance of developing a healthy collaboration to work together for the common good.

He cited World Youth Day 2008 as an example clearly demonstrating this ideal.

“One of the things that made me proudest was the way every sector of our community cooperated in the planning and delivery. It demonstrated a model of the relationship between Church and state, and between people of various religions and none, that can teach the world something very important.”

Bishop Anthony spoke of the diversity of the Australian people and their capacity to co-exist and cooperate with their neighbours in a generous ‘live and let live’ spirit.

“It means we are willing to work together for the common good, for justice for the most disadvantaged, for freedom of religion and other proper liberties, for a recognition of our country’s constitutive values and traditions, and for a better Western Sydney in a better world.”

For more photos from the civic reception, see the Media Gallery on the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta site.

Copies of Bishop Anthony's Address to Civic Leaders and Bishop Kevin's Address to Civic Leaders can also be found on the Diocesan site.

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