First and foremost a man of prayer and deep faith

11/03/2010

Installation Mass of Bishop Fisher
Mass photography: Bob and Michael Armstrong.

George Cardinal Pell, Archbishop of Sydney

A bishop of a diocese does not take up his role lightly. It is a position of responsibility, carrying a primary duty of service and prayer for the priests and people under his care.

Every leader needs a clear set of beliefs and to know the direction in which he is heading. This is especially true for a bishop. Without these a bishop cannot inspire hope, or encourage prayer, service and personal and community initiatives.

It is from these signs that young people especially, but also the wider community, can see that Catholics are serious about what they believe and are hard at work.

As a servant-leader committed by his vocation to the service of others, a bishop also needs a measure of personal freedom, of confidence in his cause, and even in himself, so that he can sometimes offer a different point of view to majority consensus, and make difficult decisions when necessary. Otherwise, he is at the mercy of events and the strongest pressures of the moment.

Bishop Anthony Fisher OP brings all these good qualities to the work he now commences as the third Bishop of Parramatta. He is first and foremost a man of prayer and deep faith, a priest who loves Christ and his Church, and has committed his life to serving people, especially those in need.

He is an immensely clever man who has been blessed, through the foresight and wisdom of his Dominican superiors, to receive one of the best educations the West can offer.

In the best traditions of St Dominic and St Thomas Aquinas, he puts his great learning at the service of people. He is an accomplished teacher and regularly delivers homilies that are prayerful, thoughtful and beautiful.

Bishop Anthony is his own man, and nobody’s fool. He has a big heart and a good sense of humour. He is deeply committed to supporting families, young people and his brother priests.

He is also used to starting new initiatives, building them from the ground up. He has demonstrated this during his time as the inaugural director of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and the Family in Melbourne, and most spectacularly in the years he spent leading and organising the preparations for World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney.

The Diocese of Parramatta is blessed to have Bishop Anthony as its new bishop, a man who can build on the great work of his predecessor, Bishop Manning.

I have no doubt that he will serve the Catholic community in Parramatta tirelessly, generously and with love and devotion.


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