“The priesthood is not about me, it’s about Christ!”
This was the response I received from the Bishop-elect Anthony Randazzo, when I first met him as a seminarian and asked how he understands the priesthood.
It was an answer that got me thinking as a young seminarian in 2008 as I drove him from the seminary at Banyo to Wynberg, where he was to meet with Cardinal William Levada, who was visiting with the Archbishop.
When the bishop-elect was appointed rector later that year, I saw the incarnation of his response in the way he led the seminary community and in his personality and spirit.
He brought hope, life and, most of all, love to all us. And that meant a lot for some of us who came from overseas.
Bishop-elect Anthony Randazzo is, by any standards, an outstanding figure, possessed of unusual gifts of both grace and nature.
He has the great gift of giving to those who have a dark cloud around them something to smile about.
I experienced this in 2009 when I lost my Dad and the many times I felt a bit homesick while in the seminary.
This, he did, not only to me, but also to other seminarians who, at different stages of their formation, found themselves in similar situations.
For me, he wasn’t just “the Rector”, he was also, and primarily, a pastor and a great Churchman.
It doesn’t surprise me to know that he has chosen as his episcopal motto “fiat voluntas tua” (your will be done).
His life bears witness to this, especially in his loving “yes” to the Church’s call to the episcopal office.
It is only a man who has put on Christ in the most intimate manner possible – a true apostle – that can do this, especially at a time when the Church seems to be going through some turbulence and divine purification.
I have every conviction that Bishop-elect Anthony Randazzo would be an excellent bishop.
He is gifted both personally and pastorally, and I am sure he will be a great shepherd in Sydney archdiocese.
No doubt, he will be greatly missed in the Archdiocese of Brisbane.
Brisbane’s loss is Sydney’s gain, but Brisbane people will remain grateful to him for the many gifts God has given him, which he shared, and still shares so generously.
May he be imbued with wisdom and strength both now and into the future.
By Fr Anthony Ekpo