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Bishop Vincent Long Installed as Fourth Bishop of Parramatta

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
17 Jun 2016

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, Archbishop of Sydney as Metropolitan Archbishop and as the most recent occupant of the chair of the Diocese of Parramatta expressed his joy last night at St Patrick's Cathedral at the Liturgical Reception and Solemn Mass of Installation of the Most Reverend Vincent Long van Nguyen OFM Conv as the fourth Bishop of Parramatta.

"It is a joy to be back with you in St Patrick's Cathedral on this historic occasion as Bishop Vincent Long van Nguyen OFM Conv is installed as Bishop of Parramatta" said Archbishop Fisher.

"I have known Vincent since seminary days and can assure the priests and people of Parramatta that they are receiving a shepherd after the heart of the Good Shepherd!"

Bishop Long told clergy and parishioners that "after 19 months without a bishop, you have been given one in the person of a Vietnamese Australian and a former boat person. Perhaps, you can add my appointment to the list of surprises that Pope Francis has done".

The Mass was concelebrated by Most Reverend Anthony Fisher OP, Archbishop of Sydney, the Most Reverend Adolfo Tito Yllana, Apostolic Nuncio to Australia, the archbishops and bishops of Australia, clergy of the Diocese of Parramatta and visiting clergy.

In his homily, Bishop Long said, "I am about to be cast into the deep interior of Western Sydney all the way to the beautiful Blue Mountains and the fertile plains of the Hawksbury River".

The Diocese of Parramatta spans one of the fastest growing areas of Australia. It is home to 330,000 Catholics in an area of 1,050,000 people.

Archbishop Fisher who was the Bishop of Parramatta from 2010 to 2014 explained that Western Sydney is the most Catholic part of our nation and a most energetic and energizing part of the Church in Australia today.

"It is where the Church is youngest, most ethnically diverse and fastest growing" he said.

Prayers of the faithful were read in Malayalam, Arabic, Auslan, Cantonese, Spanish and Polish representing the ethnic diversity across the diocese.
 
Archbishop Fisher welcomed the distinguished guests who included His Excellency the Apostolic Nuncio to Australia, Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana, who represents His Holiness Pope Francis, as well as Archbishops and Bishops from around Australia, especially Bishop Kevin Manning the second Bishop of Parramatta.

In particular he acknowledged Fr Peter Williams, who administered the Parramatta Diocese for the past twenty months, and the family and friends of Bishop Vincent.

Bishop Long's mother Mrs van Quang Nguyen was present, along with his godmother, Mrs Thi-man Truong, and four of his siblings with their families. Many members of the Vietnamese Catholic community were also at the Mass celebrating the first Vietnamese-Australian bishop of a diocese.

Bishop Long in his homily recognised the ethnic diversity of the Parramatta region and some of the challenges this represents.

"Here in Sydney's West, I am told, asylum seekers and youth radicalisation are politically charged issues. As a former boat person, I have a certain kinship to those who are alienated and marginalised. As your bishop, I am committed to be a bridge builder.
 
"What we are witnessing as the people of faith is the flood of secularisation that has washed away much of the church we've known and loved. We have been battered and bruised.
 
"We have to admit with the greatest humility that we have not lived up to that fundamental ethos of justice, mercy, care for those who have been hurt by our own actions and inactions. And so in the eyes of many, whatever aura of respectability we've got left has evaporated with the sexual abuse crisis. The Royal Commission has been a lightning rod, an uncomfortable spotlight, but hopefully a catalyst for transformation."

"Parramatta is also the only Australian diocese in which all those who have been privileged to be Bishop are still alive," said Archbishop Fisher, paying homage to Bishop Bede Heather (1986-1997) and Bishop Kevin Manning (1997-2010), who preceded him.

"The installation of a new bishop marks the commencement of a new chapter in the life of the local church" said Archbishop Fisher.

"These times call for bishops of faith and compassion, of courage and mercy. Pope Francis has expressed confidence that Bishop Vincent is the man for this job."

President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Denis Hart said, "Bishop Long has used his considerable gifts to reach out to many people in Melbourne, he is a fitting leader of Australia's biggest non-metropolitan diocese in Parramatta".
 
"Bishop Long brings to Parramatta a wide knowledge of people and a deep compassion for them. He has endeared himself to so many by his genuine interest in people's spiritual needs, he will be a very effective pastor in Parramatta."

Read the full text of Archbishop Fisher's address here.

Photographs courtesy of the Diocese of Parramatta.