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Our own Bishop Anthony appointed Archbishop of Sydney


Catholic Outlook October 2014: Our own Bishop Anthony appointed Archbishop of Sydney
Archbishop Anthony smiles for a ‘selfie’ with a student from Parramatta Marist High Westmead. Photography: Alfred Boudib

Originally published in Catholic Outlook October 2014

His Holiness Pope Francis has appointed the Bishop of Parramatta, Most Reverend Anthony Fisher OP, as the ninth Archbishop of Sydney. The Vatican announced the appointment on 18 September 2014.

The next morning, the Archbishop-elect addressed the media in Parramatta and said he was deeply honoured by the appointment and by Pope Francis’ expression of confidence in him.

Archbishop Anthony described it as a special privilege to be the new shepherd of the Archdiocese.

“I ask all Catholics and other people of good will to pray for me that I might be a good shepherd after the heart of Jesus Christ,” he said.

Catholic Outlook October 2014: Our own Bishop Anthony appointed Archbishop of Sydney
Archbishop Anthony addressing the media. Photography: Alfred Boudib

The Archbishop said he is very much “a Sydney boy” and was looking forward to returning to his “home diocese”.

“Growing up in the south-west and then the north of Sydney, working as a bishop in the east and then the west, I feel a deep affinity for every part of this wonderful city and a deep concern for its people,” he said.

“I’m very excited to be returning to the Archdiocese of Sydney and building on the strong foundations left by my predecessor Cardinal George Pell. Sydney is a vibrant, growing city with so much potential to be one of the greatest cities – and faith communities – of the world.”

The Archbishop said the Catholic Church in Australia had made an enormous contribution to nation building through parishes, education, healthcare, welfare, aged care and more.

“But it has more to do to renew our social capital and ensure that our country fulfils its potential to be a just and compassionate society,” he said.

The Archbishop told the media conference that the Catholic Church still had to come through a period of reflection and examination in regards to child sexual abuse.

“It’s been harrowing to listen to the stories of survivors of abuse as I have done … as Bishop of Parramatta,” he said. “To hear how the Church let them down; to hear how they felt abandoned and their continuing suffering.

“Survivors of past abuse and our future young people, to them both, I say ‘no excuses, no cover-ups. I’m ashamed and I’m sorry for where we’ve failed you in the past. The Church can do better in this area and I’m determined to play my part as a leader in Sydney’.”

Archbishop Anthony said he hoped the Church would emerge from this period purified. “It will be a humbler Church, I hope a more compassionate church and spiritually regenerated by what it’s going through.”

Archbishop Anthony said he was enormously enriched by his time as the Bishop of Parramatta and by the people of Western Sydney.

From the welcome I received four years ago to today, it has been a gift from God,” he said. “The vibrancy of our parishes, multicultural communities and especially our youth energised me to carry out my work here.

“The people of Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains will always be close to my heart and I humbly ask for your prayers in my new role.”

Catholic Outlook October 2014: Our own Bishop Anthony appointed Archbishop of Sydney
Archbishop Anthony is congratulated by his mother, Gloria Fisher. Photography: Alfred Boudib

During his time as Bishop of Parramatta, Archbishop Anthony oversaw the development of the Diocesan Pastoral Plan, Faith in our Future, invigorated the youth ministry, relocated Holy Spirit Seminary to Harris Park, which saw restoration of the historic Kenilworth House to respond to an increase in vocations, and restructured the Chancery to better suit the needs of the Diocese.

Archbishop Anthony will continue to administer the Diocese of Parramatta until he is installed as Archbishop of Sydney on Wednesday 12 November 2014.

Following his installation, the College of Consultors will meet to elect a priest to be Diocesan Administrator until the Holy Father appoints the fourth Bishop of Parramatta.

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