More than a year of praying and waiting for a shepherd ended for the Catholic faithful of the Diocese of Broken Bay with a joy-filled reception and installation of their new bishop on 4 November.
Bishop Anthony Randazzo was installed as the fourth bishop of Broken Bay in the two-hour ceremony and Solemn Mass of Installation in the Light of Christ Centre in Waitara in Sydney’s upper north shore.
Punctuated by moments of warmth, humour and long applause the occasion was held in the centre rather than the nearby Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral to better accommodate the standing-room only congregation of more than 1200.
It included the Apostolic Nuncio in Australia, Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana who read in Latin and English the Papal Bull appointing the new bishop, heads of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference Archbishop Mark Coleridge and Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP and Broken Bay predecessors Bishop David Walker and Archbishop Peter Comensoli along with 27 of the country’s Catholic bishops, more than 120 priests and deacons, and other faith and civic leaders.
Parishioners, families, students, and staff from across Broken Bay’s parishes, schools, and agencies joined others from the Archdiocese of Sydney, where Bishop Randazzo has served as an auxiliary bishop for the past three years, and from the Archdiocese of Brisbane where he was ordained a priest in 1991 and served a number of roles including as rector of the Seminary of Queensland from 2009-2015.
Two of Bishop Randazzo’s sisters were present, and his parents Colin and Caterina Randazzo received a couple of special mentions through the night including from Archbishop Fisher who sent them “warm greetings” in the hope that they were watching via the diocese’s live stream broadcast.
“Words cannot express the joy I feel tonight as I begin my ministry as the fourth bishop of Broken Bay,” said the 53-year-old bishop.
“I am humbled by the confidence and trust His Holiness Pope Francis has shown in me.”
In his words of thanks the bishop thanked Archbishop Fisher for his “fraternal care” of him, his immediate predecessor, now Archbishop of Melbourne Comensoli, and brother bishops who had travelled from all over the country to attend the occasion.
“You honour me [with your presence], and more importantly you honour my people,” Bishop Randazzo said.
To his people of Broken Bay he said he had been overwhelmed by the “enthusiasm and graciousness” with which he had been received in the past month since his appointment on 7 October.
“Your personal warmth and zeal for the mission of the Church lifts my soul in praise of God,” he said.
To his predecessors, referring to them as “BB2 and BB3”, Bishop Randazzo said he hoped to be “half the good shepherds you have been in guarding your flock”.
He also paid tribute to Father David Ranson, who served as acting administrator since the transfer of Archbishop Comensoli to take up the role as Archbishop of Melbourne in August 2018, for guiding the diocese with “compassion, integrity and love”.
“Please pray for me that I might be a good shepherd after the heart of Christ.”
The bishop has taken as his motto ‘Fiat Voluntas Tua: Thy will be done’, from the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:10.
The occasion was also the feast of St Charles Borromeo, the great 16th century bishop of Milan. In his homily Bishop Randazzo spoke about the call to personal holiness and explained that while the saint is best remembered as a bold reformer of a Church which had become corrupted, his “greatest legacy was his religious virtue and the way he inspired others to be disciples of the Lord”.
“At the heart of Charles’ preaching was a call to conversion, which would lead to renewal, and lay the foundation of authentic reform,” Bishop Randazzo said.
“[He] was adamant that reform was only possible in the Church if it was preceded by a personal and genuine conversion and renewal.”
Bishop Randazzo called those present to work with him, out of love of God and neighbour to “encourage, challenge and support each other as we respond to our vocation to be Christ in the world”.
Archbishop Fisher joked that to paraphrase Oscar Wilde “to lose one of my auxiliary bishops to Broken Bay [referring to Archbishop Comensoli] might be regarded as a misfortune, for me to now have lost two of my auxiliaries to Broken Bay looks more like carelessness”.
“Bishop Anthony has earned the respect and affection of people of the Archdiocese of Sydney especially those in the western region for which he has been responsible,” he added.
Created in 1986 the Diocese of Broken Bay is made up of 26 parishes and 53 diocesan and independent schools and covers 2763 square kilometres extending from Tuggerah Lakes region on the Central Coast to Sydney’s Lower North Shore.
It is named for the bay at the mouth of the Hawkesbury River which divides the diocese’s north and south.
Broken Bay’s lighthouse which stands on the Barrenjoey Peninsula is the diocese’s much-loved symbol for the light of Christ and Bishop Randazzo has also adopted it on his personal coat of arms.