SYDNEY’S newest auxiliary Bishop borrowed from Queensland has promised his new flock that he will be more than just “a landlord” in the Archdiocese.
Bishop Anthony Randazzo, a former priest of the Brisbane archdiocese, said following his episcopal ordination on August 24, the people on Sydney could depend on him as a worker in God’s harvest.
“Well I am here to minister, to cultivate the harvest,” Bishop Randazzo said.
The new Bishop is already living up to his promise, launching straight into confirmations at Austral, NSW, on Sunday and preparing for the Proclaim Conference in Broken Bay next week.
And while Bishop Randazzo appreciates the Pope’s call to “smell like the sheep”, the former Queensland rector has come up with his own farming motto.
“I come from an agrarian background, so I love the image of rolling up the sleeves, heading out into the vineyard, doing the fertilising and the aerating…and sometimes you get little nicks and cuts but it’s worth it to see the wonderful fruit you gain at the end,” Bishop Randazzo said.
Bishop Randazzo shared his episcopal ordination with Bishop Richard Umbers, a New Zealand native from the Opus Dei prelature.
At their ordination this week, Bishop Randazzo looked down to see his three sisters, niece, nephew and new wife, his godfather “who held me over the font when I was a baby”, his mother and his most precious guest, his dad.
“My father has a serious illness so we weren’t sure he was going to make it,” Bishop Randazzo said.
Behind his family in St Mary’s Cathedral were hundreds of Catholics, excited to welcome Bishop Randazzo and Bishop Umbers as their new pastors.
“That’s the part I find humbling and absolutely exciting, is we know there are those guys who are excited for us fellas, and I am deeply grateful and joyful about that, but what excites and gladdens my heart is the unspeakable dimension that those people in Sydney, in New Zealand, and all over Australia, are rejoicing in the life of the Church,” Bishop Randazzo said.
“This is a great moment in the life of the Church.”
Bishop Randazzo’s elevation to the episcopacy comes in the midst of celebrating his silver jubilee, or 25 years, as a priest.
He was ordained a priest on November 29, 1991, alongside Brisbane archdiocesan priest and close friend Fr Morgan Batt.
Fr Batt remained beside Bishop Randazzo at his ordination to present him to Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher.
Brisbane-based Carmelite Friar Paul Chandler, who worked with Bishop Randazzo at the seminary as spiritual director, was also chosen to bring forward the rings, mitre and staff.
Bishop Randazzo will now take up responsibility for the pastoral care of the Western region of the Sydney archdiocese.
It’s the area where his parents settled, ran a business and gave birth to Anthony Randazzo, who only stayed lived in NSW for the first 11 months of his life.
“So it’s a physical homecoming as well as a spiritual one,” Bishop Randazzo said.
“I know the church vicariously through my family, friends, priests and fellow Bishops, but it’s one thing to know it in reality.
“The welcome I’ve been given from the people of Sydney has been overwhelmingly generous.”
He said the people of the Western region had “a vitality for the faith” and were already living the Gospel daily.
“It’s great to come in and see that Jesus is already growing with them, that I don’t have to weed Jesus through the field,” Bishop Randazzo said.
“They are hungry for Jesus and I’m hungry too.”
Bishop Randazzo will head to Rome next month for a formal meeting of all new Bishops with the Pope.
By Emilie Ng