Pilgrimage to the threshold of the Apostles
|In Rome I was able to tell the Holy Father and his collaborators about the wonderful people of Western Sydney. Photo: L’Osservatore Romano.|
By the Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP
I’m just back from the visit the Australian bishops make to Rome every five years or so. It is called the ad limina apostolorum because it is a pilgrimage to (the threshold of) the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul.
It’s a kind of ecclesiastical audit, a chance for the universal Church to reflect with the local dioceses on how things are going. Bishops report on every aspect of their dioceses.
We also interact with the Vatican departments concerned with doctrine and morals, with bishops, priests, religious and laity, with liturgy, family, healthcare, migrants, ecumenism, interreligious dialogue, the New Evangelisation and much more.
We meet with the Pope, once in small groups so he can hear from us individually, and once as a body of Australian bishops so he can address us together.
There is much, I think, that we can be proud of as a diocese and as the Church in Australia. I was able to talk about strengths of our diocese such as its ethnic diversity, its young families and young adults, its strong parish life and much else besides.
The Pope and his team were astonished to hear that we have parishioners from every country on earth and that we have nearly 80 active youth groups and ministries in our diocese, including a group of several hundred young adults who meet in a pub each month to talk theology!
Above all, I was able to tell the Holy Father and his collaborators about the wonderful people of Western Sydney, many of whom are devoted to God and His people, and week after week bring Him their hopes and fears, their hearts and lives, their family and friends, to offer with the bread and wine at Mass that He might transform them also.
Read Bishop Anthony’s homily for 31st Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year A)
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