Address at Parramatta Town Hall welcoming Bishop Vincent – 27 June 2016

Ms Amanda Chadwick, Administrator of Parramatta City, former councillors, distinguished guests, ladies and gentleman.

I would like to pay my respect and acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which this meeting takes place, and also pay respect to Elders both past and present.

I want to thank you civic leaders of the City of Parramatta for the way in which you made me feel welcome. At my installation, I was amazed at the level of partnership and collaboration between the City Council and the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta.

You went to great lengths to ensure a successful induction event for the new Catholic Leader of the region. I am enormously grateful. To be honest, I was a bit embarrassed walking under the banners around the Cathedral precinct. You made other bishops and religious leaders in Australia envious of me.

Parramatta and Western Sydney are the epitome of multicultural, multi-faith and ethnically diverse Australia. In times of insecurity and tension such as this, I believe we need to build bridges in our community, bridges and understanding, inclusion and solidarity instead walls of suspicion, division and exclusion.

As a former refugee and an asylum seeker, I stand before you as a living witness to this great nation built on the principle of respect for human dignity, fair go and opportunity. I pledge myself to work with you all for the good of this community.

The Catholic Diocese of Parramatta wishes for our part to cooperate in the pursuit of the common good. We do so through our social and educational works, promoting ethical and spiritual values, reaching out to all, especially those most in need. Let us join hand in partnership as we work for a better Australia, a better city that will be great legacy to future generations.

For photos from the event click here: