Archbishop Fisher Gives Thanks for 25 Years of Priesthood

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
16 Sep 2016

This week Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP celebrated his 25th Anniversary of priestly ordination with a Silver Jubilee Mass at Holy Name Priory Church, Wahroonga.

The Mass was concelebrated by Bishop Peter Comensoli, the Bishop of Broken Bay, Fr David Ranson, Parish Priest of Holy Name and Vicar General of the Diocese of Broken Bay, Fr Don Richardson, Dean of St Mary's Cathedral, many Dominican clergy and several others.

On 14 September 1991 Archbishop Anthony was ordained a priest at Holy Name Parish in Wahroonga, after entering the Dominican Order of Preachers in 1985.

Wahroonga was home for the young Dominican for many years and the Archbishop expressed his delight in returning to the parish on such a special occasion.

"I remember with fondness the year-and-a-half I had serving in this parish leading up to my ordination to the priesthood and the wonderful days thereafter," said Archbishop Fisher. "The clergy, sisters and parishioners here contributed significantly to my formation and to preparing me for my years ahead as a priest."

His 25 years of priesthood have seen him complete extensive academic studies in Australia and overseas, be appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney in 2003, Bishop of Parramatta in 2010 and Ninth Archbishop of Sydney on 18 September 2014. In addition in 2015, Pope Francis appointed him to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the body responsible for promulgating and defending Catholic doctrine.

In his homily the Archbishop gave a touching account of the challenges presented to him in his Silver Jubilee year, sharing of his debilitating illness and long period of recovery:

"As if God was saying 'It's time to grow up, Anthony,' He gave me the sort of Christmas present only saints can call a grace: the sudden onset of Guillain-Barré Syndrome meant that in 24 hours I was completely paralysed from the neck down. During a long Paschaltide I found myself beside Christ on the cross, completely disabled in hands and feet, racked at times with pain, and wondering what it all could mean. But unlike my Lord and so many others, I was to recover in this life, due to great healthcare and physiotherapy, as well as God's grace mediated by the prayers and support of so many. It has been a time of trial but I hope also of some learning and growth in virtue for me, and even more importantly, of some mysterious fruit for the Church in Sydney and beyond. And it has given me new perspective on the mystery of the Cross in our lives."

Despite the challenges, the Archbishop remains grateful for the past 25 years, reflecting upon what the priesthood means to him.

"To be called out from amongst God's priestly people to become their priest is a mystery still strange and wonderful to me a quarter-century after I began to live it" he said.

At the conclusion of Mass, Archbishop Anthony thanked everyone for their presence on the night and in his life for so many years.

"To my parents, family, friends and parishioners: God bless you for giving me to God 25 years ago and sustaining me through these years; please keep doing so for the next quarter-century as well!"

The celebrations at Holy Name were filled with joy and gratitude to God for the gift of a quarter-century of priesthood of Archbishop Anthony that has blessed so many.

Read the full homily of Archbishop Fisher here