AN initial reaction to the blessed news of Monsignor Tony Randazzo’s appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney was, “Of course… naturally.”
The decision seemed overwhelmingly ordained.
Memories of visiting Holy Spirit Provincial Seminary, Banyo, for various sacred events and interviews soon came to mind.
One such time was when a lengthy story about Bishop-elect Randazzo, then rector, was proposed.
He spoke candidly and refreshingly as I’d anticipated.
We swapped insights into our shared Italian heritage, even the embarrassing salami sandwiches we each endured in childhood, his upbringing in a family of shared faith, certainty of a calling to the priesthood, dreams for the future of the Church and, of course, his fatherly dedication to the seminarians in his care.
Over time I came to appreciate the company, wisdom and vision of the man lovingly referred to by seminarians as “the Mons”.
Reporting on many of the Mons’ homilies and reflections was a privilege. They were and are articulate and heartfelt, none moreso than when he shared about one of the seminarians reaching an ordination milestone, especially to the transitional diaconate or priesthood.
He amazed with his precise accuracy in the pronunciation of the Nigerian seminarians’ names particularly, delighting in their successes and those of each and every vocation.
Bishop-elect Randazzo’s recounting of trips to Nigeria for ordinations will long live in my memory.
He was so animatedly exuberant about what he’d witnessed and been enveloped in, appearing to return home with an extra “spring” in his step. Not only was he proud of the increasing number of vocations, their testimony and eventual ordination, but the Mons was also ready to share the latest developments in construction at the seminary itself, today, a testament to his seven-year tenure.
Most vivid in my memory was a visit to the seminary chapel when the gloriously shaped and coloured dove, forming the tabernacle, was installed.
Bishop-elect Randazzo excitedly led the way, almost skipping there, and explained in great detail about how it came to be.
The more time spent in his company, the more I believed in the future of the Church and the immense good she does through her priests and seminarians.
While time in your company is rare nowadays, Bishop-elect Randazzo, I send thanks for your dedication to vibrancy in storytelling and pray with confidence that the Lord will continue to bless you and those in your pastoral care.
Jesus Christ in you, spurred to greater holiness, my vocation as wife and mother and my profession as storyteller.
Could we, one day, hear the title “cardinal” or more associated with your name?
That too may flow quite naturally.
Selina Venier is a columnist for The Catholic Leader, and is an author and works in faith education.