Joyous Welcome for Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP for Feast of Corpus Christi

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
30 May 2016

The Feast of Corpus Christi was a joyful occasion at St Mary's Cathedral yesterday when Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP celebrated the Solemn Mass after a period of illness. The congregation applauded as the Archbishop processed down the aisle, something he has been unable to do for some time.

Fr Don Richardson, Dean of St Mary's Cathedral warmly welcomed the Archbishop back to his Cathedral. The Archbishop expressed his joy at returning after several months away during intensive rehabilitation from Guillain Barre Syndrome which he contracted last Christmas and which left him with debilitating paralysis.

"It is a great joy for me to be back living at the Cathedral and now celebrating Mass here with you all", he said.

"By God's grace granted in answer to many people's prayers and mediated to me by the finest health professionals, I have made great strides towards full health since I fell seriously ill last Christmas. I still have some distance to go and will continue to rely upon your care and patience with me."

Many were in attendance including His Excellency the Governor-General of Australia, Sir Peter Cosgrove, with Lady Cosgrove, and several Members of Parliament, the judiciary, academy, media and industry. Many civic and faith leaders, as well as members of church agencies were present who had come to visit the Archbishop in hospital or at home as he was recovering.

The Archbishop especially welcomed the many doctors, including Dr Peter Stevens and Dr Susan Tomlinson, as well as nurses, allied health professionals and carers from St Vincent's Hospital, led by Director of Nursing and Clinical Services, Jose Aguilera and Director of Intensive Care, Sam Rudham, and from Mount Wilga Rehabilitation Hospital, led by CEO, Lorrie Mohsen. Archbishop Fisher expressed a heartfelt thanks for the crucial role they played in his treatment, recovery and care.

In this homily, Archbishop Fisher reflected on the significance of the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ and used the example of his own illness to emphasise the bodily nature of the Eucharist and our need to be drawn together as a people of God in the Body of Christ.

"One reason we keep coming back to Mass is, of course, so that we can be a support to and receive support from one another, as a community of saints and sinners, hopefully sinners-becoming-saints," he said.

"Months of sickness and disability have made me more aware of what many suffer for much of their lives, more concerned for them, and more appreciative regarding my own body and health."

Afterwards the Archbishop hosted refreshments for many who attended including friends, family, doctors, nurses, carers and health professionals who cared for him during his recovery.

He expressed his gratitude to them all. "I thank you with all my heart," he said.

Read the Archbishops full homily here.