Diocese bids farewell to a priest, friend and colleague


Most Rev Robert McGuckin's speech, during the Mass of Thanksgiving.

Australia’s newest Catholic Bishop, Most Rev Robert McGuckin, was farewelled by the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta at a Mass of Thanksgiving in St Patrick’s Cathedral in Parramatta on Saturday 23 June.

On Wednesday 11 July, his episcopal ordination as the Bishop of Toowoomba will take place at 11am in St Patrick’s Cathedral in Toowoomba.

Bishop Robert was ordained in Sydney in 1973 but has been in Parramatta since 1986. He is the first priest of this Diocese to be raised to the episcopacy.

Reflecting on his time in the Diocese, Bishop Robert said he was thankful for the ministry of Bishops Bede Heather, Kevin Manning and Anthony Fisher OP.

“I am thankful for being able to watch these great men, the work they’ve done, and their pastoral care of people of Parramatta. They have been part of my story as you the people, clergy and religious are part of my story and of the people of Parramatta.”

Bishop Robert said as a priest, he felt very privileged. “People invite us into their lives in a very special way at moments of joy and sadness, at important parts of their lives. This is not something we ask for, but we are privileged to be able to share.

“I am thankful for the opportunities I’ve had with clergy, religious and the lay people of the Diocese, the opportunities to be with you in your parishes and various ministries. There has been the opportunity to perhaps share some of my knowledge, but more so to learn from each of you.”

Commissioned to be friends with the Lord

Most Rev Robert McGuckin Mass of Thanksgiving New Story
Bishop Anthony: “Bishop Bob is a compassionate man, a practical man, a friend to the sick and needy, as many priests know. He is a natural teacher and has a great sense of humour.”
Photography: Alphonsus Fok and Grace Lu

In his homily, Bishop Anthony paid tribute to his closest collaborator. “We pray that the people of Toowoomba will likewise give thanks for Bob and take him to their hearts.

“It will not be hard. He is a compassionate man, a practical man, a friend to the sick and needy, as many priests know. He is a natural teacher and has a great sense of humour. He is an easy man to like.

“He will also know what he is doing. His knowledge of Canon Law is legendary and only recently he was appointed Chief Justice of the ecclesiastical scene in NSW.

“He has been an enormous help to me and my predecessors as Vicar General. He is a perfectionist, who sets the bar high for himself and those around him.

“It is hard for us to say goodbye to you Bob. But we are very proud of you. You are the first bishop from the clergy of this young Diocese and we will always feel we own you, whatever your new adopted family say.”

Bishop Robert’s motto is Remain in my love. “It comes from that wonderful chapter 15 in St John’s Gospel where we learn that love of Father is something that we experience – the gift of Jesus to us all,” he said.

“It is a call we receive, through our Baptism, the call for each of us to be disciples – we are chosen, we are commissioned to be friends with the Lord and to love one another.

“My thanks to each of you, to Bishop Anthony for his words, and for your gifts. As I use them I will remember very much the people of Parramatta. You’ve been a part of my life. There is a special call for us to be involved, to remain in the love of the Lord no matter where we are.”

The mission that Jesus has entrusted to us

Most Rev Robert McGuckin Mass of Thanksgiving News Story
Most Rev Robert McGuckin, Bishop-elect of Toowoomba.
Photo: Alphonsus Fok & Grace Lu
During his years in Parramatta, Bishop Robert’s ministry has included the Church Tribunal, parish ministry, Administrator of the Diocese for a short time, Vicar for Religious and Vicar General for the past 15 years.

Speaking after his farewell Mass, Bishop Robert said it had been joyful, but there were occasions of sadness as well. “I was almost overcome by the kind words from Bishop Anthony, the thanksgiving of the people there, and their gift to me of the crozier, which will be an important part of my ministry in Toowoomba.

“The people of Parramatta will go with me; they are part of my past, part of my present and will be part of my future.”

For his new Diocese of Toowoomba, Bishop Robert said his vision was that it would continue to grow as the Kingdom of God. “This is a role that we fulfil together. Each of us by our Baptism is called upon to exercise the mission that Jesus has entrusted to us, the bishop in a special way, but he doesn’t do it alone. St Augustine said, ‘for you I am Bishop, but with you I am Christian’.

“The vision I have is that the people of Toowoomba and I will be one, working for the good of the Church, growing the kingdom of God in Toowoomba.”

Go to Photo Gallery

Bishop Anthony’s Mass of Thanksgiving Homily (video, audio & text formats)

The Episcopal Ordination of Bishop Robert McGuckin will take place on Wednesday 11 July at 11am in St Patrick’s Cathedral in Toowoomba. It will be streamed live on the Diocese of Toowoomba’s website: www.twb.catholic.org.au


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Photo Gallery: Farewell Mass for Bishop Bob McGuckin


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