New Bishop of Parramatta speaks to the challenge of being church today at 2016 Ann D Clark Lecture

13/9/2016
New Bishop of Parramatta speaks to the challenge of being church today at 2016 Ann D Clark Lecture
New Bishop of Parramatta speaks to the challenge of being church today at 2016 Ann D Clark Lecture



Most Rev Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, delivered the 17th Annual Catholic Education Ann D Clark Lecture on Thursday 18 August 2016 to more than 500 educators, principals and staff at the Evan Theatre, Penrith Panthers. 

In his thought-provoking lecture titled, ‘Pope Francis and the challenge of being church today,’ Bishop Vincent explored four key challenges; to offer a hopeful vision; to go to the margins; to be a merciful church; and to be an inclusive church.

‘In Australia, we seem to have reached a critical juncture,’ Bishop Vincent said.  ‘Not only are we afflicted by such things as the decline in Sunday worship, the fall in religious practice, the dearth of the priesthood and religious life, etc … we also face the biggest challenge to date, which is the loss of our moral credibility and trust capital due to the sexual abuse crisis.’

‘I believe that we are living in a watershed and a privileged moment in the history of the Church. Just as the biblical exile brought about the most transforming experience that profoundly shaped the faith of Israel, this transition time can potentially launch the Church into a new era of hope, engagement and solidarity that the Second Vatican Council beckoned us with great foresight,’ he said. 

Bishop Vincent spoke of the necessity for the church and its people to launch into deeper waters.

‘My personal story of being a refugee, my struggle for a new life in Australia, coupled with my Franciscan heritage have all contributed to the sense of hope which was the legacy of the exile of old and which should inform and enlighten our present exile experience,’ Bishop Vincent said. ‘Like the prophets who accompanied their people, interpreted the signs of the times and led them in the direction of the kingdom...we must do the same for our people in the context of this new millennium.’

‘This was what Mary MacKillop did when she rallied her sisters behind the poor and vulnerable in colonial Australia. She took a prophetic stance, not simply in providing affordable quality Catholic education and health care to the poor masses, but fundamentally in meeting the great cultural challenges of their times,’ he said. ‘Like her, we are called to be channels of hope and to meet the challenges of our times. In what ways can we follow her prophetic vision and apply it to our context? Who are the people without hope and how can we reframe the harsh realities that they experience into a hopeful future?’

Executive Director of Schools Greg Whitby, presented the the Ann D Clark medallion to Bishop Vincent at the conclusion of the lecture. Now in its 17th year, the Ann D Clark lecture is an annual event held to honour the memory of the founding Executive Director of Schools in the Diocese of Parramatta, Ann D Clark who was a visionary educator. Past speakers have included Professor Stephen Dinham OAM, Dr Peter Hill, Professor John Hattie, Professor Vivianne Robinson, Professor Michael Fullan, Patrick Dodson and Professor Yong Zhao.
Posted By Natasha Borg at 13/09/2016 12:09:00 PM
 
   
  
 

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