ARCHBISHOP Mark Coleridge in becoming the seventh Bishop and sixth Archbishop of Brisbane on May 11 indicated he is determined to lead in facing “the Church’s greatest challenge in these times”.
He left no doubt about that as he preached the homily at the Solemn Mass and Liturgical Reception of him as Archbishop of Brisbane in the Cathedral of St Stephen on May 11.
The cathedral was packed with a congregation including 37 bishops from every state and territory of Australia, two bishops from New Zealand – Bishop Denis Browne of Hamilton and Bishop Charles Drennan of Palmerston North – and one from Sri Lanka Bishop Cletus Perrera of Ratnapura.
Apostolic nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto attended, along with priests from all over Queensland and throughout Australia, deacons, religious, heads of other Churches, and representatives from every parish, organisation, school, commission and council, work and ministry of Brisbane archdiocese.
Among the civic dignitaries were Queensland Governor Penelope Wensley, Premier Campbell Newman, State Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk, Speaker of the House John Mickel, Chief Justice Paul de Jersey; and Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson.
Archbishop Emeritus John Bathersby, who retired late last year as Archbishop of Brisbane was there to offer words of welcome to his successor.
Archbishop Coleridge’s family and friends joined the celebration.
In his homily, Archbishop Coleridge said he had been asked in recent weeks, “What is the Church’s greatest challenge in these times?”
“Without hesitation, I have said and I say here now: our greatest challenge is to become a more missionary Church – and this at a time when a certain institutional diminishment can tempt us to circle the wagons in some supposedly self-protective manoeuvre,” he said.
“But the great mistake we could make now would be to circle the wagons rather than roll them out into new territory in new ways.
“Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have sounded the call to a new evangelisation, seeing this as the true purpose of the Second Vatican Council.
“Their call is no vapid mantra. It points to the need for a new surge of Gospel energy at this time – the kind of new threshold that we have seen before in the history of the Church, often in dark and difficult times.”
Archbishop Coleridge said all the Church’s structures, strategies and services “must be geared to this new surge of Gospel energy, this new evangelisation, which can come only from a new and deeper encounter with the Lord crucified and risen”.
“The Church is wounded; the Church is always wounded in one way or another, though never unto death,” he said.
“The wounds of this time will be healed only if we come to Jesus, through whom flows the power that can turn all our wounds to fountains, all our weakness to strength.
“Only then will we be equipped, indeed empowered, for the mission, the new evangelisation, to which not just the Popes but the Holy Spirit is now summoning the whole Church.
“We need to be born anew from the wounded side of Christ.”