Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
12 Jun 2014
After nearly a decade in Sydney Rabbi Lawrence is relocating to London, in the United Kingdom.
The dinner was held at Cathedral House with the Apostolic Administrator the Most Rev Peter Comensoli welcoming guests.
Other guests included Mr Peter Wertheim AM, the Executive Director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry; Mr Yair Miller, President NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and his wife Sandra; Mr William Szekely, Chair of the Australian Council for Christians and Jews and his wife Gudula; Sr Giovanni Farquer, Director Sydney Archdiocesan Commission for Ecumenism and Inter-religious Relations; Mr Chris Meney, Director of the Life, Marriage and Family Centyre for the Archdiocese and the Hon Justice Francois Kunc and Felicity Rourke.
Rabbi Lawrence had been "an enthusiastic and articulate collaborator with Catholic and other faith leaders in claiming and exercising the right of religious voices to be heard in the public square on issues of faith, morality and ethics" the judge said.
In the area of Catholic-Jewish dialogue Rabbi Lawrence had made a very special contribution. This began early in his term when he made The Great Synagogue available as the venue for a joint Catholic-Jewish celebration for the 40th anniversary of the Vatican II document on relations with the Jewish people "Nostra Aetate".
In 2008 Rabbi Lawrence honoured the Catholic community with his speech of welcome to Pope Benedict XVI during the Sydney World Youth Day. However, Justice Kunc recalled that the most profound encounters had occurred when there was joint reflection on the Shoah.
Justice Kunc concluded by, above all, thanking Rabbi Lawrence and his wife for their friendship to the Catholic community and offering every good wish to them and their family for his new role in the Finchley United Synagogue in London.
In his remarks in reply, Rabbi Lawrence thanked Bishop Comensoli for hosting the dinner.
The Rabbi paid tribute to Cardinal Pell for the close working relationship they had together, which itself built on the ecumencial efforts of their respective predecessors, Rabbi Apple and Cardinal Clancy.
Following the dinner Chris Meney said the evening was a reminder that Australians should be extremely grateful that we live in a country where the opportunity to dialogue and work cooperatively is possible.
"We should do all that we can to ensure our efforts within society are seen by others as coming from people of faith who are deeply committed to the wellbeing and flourishing of all."