Address of Most Reverend Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv for the launch of The Catholic Foundation, 4 November 2017.
My dear benefactors, fellow priests and special guests,
Welcome to the launch of The Catholic Foundation which is a special milestone for the Diocese of Parramatta.
I want to begin by sharing with you the story of a country priest. He gets up on the pulpit and announces: “there is a bad news and a good news this week. The bad news is there is a leak on the roof of the church. The good news is there is money to fix it and the money is in your pockets.”
And with that, he promptly continues “Let’s have a special collection.”
There is no special collection here tonight. However, there is plenty of commitment and generosity. First and foremost, thank you, our special benefactors, for your wonderful and most generous support over the years.
Without you, many people would not have benefited from the positive impact your support has provided to thousands of people each year in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.
Since the commencement of the Diocesan Works Fund, your gifts have worked to support and repair family breakdowns, housed and protected single mothers, empowered our disabled and has aided members of our deaf and hard of hearing community.
With the daily hustle and bustle, and the bombardment of every day media, it’s easy to overlook these works and not appreciate the many unsung heroes involved.
Seeing our Diocesan works showcased tonight, I’m delighted we have the opportunity to be together to witness and be reminded of the mustard seed being sown across our diocese.
In the wake of the Royal Commission, we can despair and draw back in resignation. But let us remember that we can move forward with the spirit of Jesus. In every crisis, there is an opportunity and the opportunity for us is here to be the sacrament of God’s compassion and care for the least and the last. The Church is first and foremost a presence, an oasis of hope and Good News. We must learn to be a soothing presence, a warmth of God’s care and a gentle reach of God’s hand, affirming, healing and uplifting.
So, let us in our confidence go forth and share the good news and works of our Diocese with those around us.
In addition to thanking our benefactors, I would also like to thank our agencies for working at the coalface, and being directly present with our marginalised. Your work is a direct expression and emulation of the Gospel, and is the fruit of our benefactors’ generosity.
Now before I go on, I should say on the outset that tonight is not about asking you for money, although if you want to donate, there will be an opportunity and I will happily accept.
Tonight, is about acknowledging and thanking you for your support over the many years and to encourage you to join me in further building and sustaining our works of faith, hope and charity in our Diocese for years to come.
Join me in sustaining faith, not only because there is a growing array of competing ideas and world views in our culture and society, and because there is an apparent decline of faith in Australia, but because we, as Christians, know the joy in believing and following Jesus.
People have universally experienced this joy, for some 2000 years, and it is up to us to keep and spread the faith unto others.
Join me in sustaining hope, not only because there can be at times a lack of inclusiveness in our community, but because when we are inclusive we provide others the opportunity to experience the hope found in God’s mercy, forgiveness and love.
We only need to recall Christiane’s moving story viewed tonight. She, in her youth, her hearing lost at age 14, was welcomed and embraced by the Ephpheta Centre. The renewed hope for her future is one that no one should be deprived of.
Join me in sustaining charity, not only because we have all made mistakes and have at some stage required another chance or a helping hand, but because we know that it is in giving, we receive. By giving oneself, especially, we emulate Christ and bring about the Kingdom here in Kenthurst, Castle Hill, Mount Druitt, St Clair, Parramatta and in the rest of Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.
At the opening of tonight’s video, Pope Francis reminds us that it is “through the Church, Christ continues his mission as the Good Samaritan, caring for the bleeding wounds of humanity”.
Well my friends, the opportunities to be Christ and his Church are rich across Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains. Join me in making a difference today.
Now there is a special couple here tonight.
Mr and Mrs Walter and Sandra Bachmann, who have been most generous, over many years, in supporting our Diocesan works.
In fact, since 2011 Walter and Sandra have donated over $60,000, which has gone a long way in helping thousands of people, each year, rebuilding their lives and families.
You two are indeed a wonderful example of the “good Samaritans, caring for the bleeding wounds of humanity”.
From the depths of my heart, may I express me deep gratitude and thanks on behalf of the Diocese and the recipients of your generosity.
Please join me on stage and accept this award of appreciation.
Lastly, I would like to acknowledge all of you here present tonight, for the special gift you are to the Diocese.
Whether you are a generous benefactor, a member of staff, or a special guest emulating the Gospel, thank you for being on this journey and for your invaluable contribution, making the Diocese the ministry it is.
As a special token, I would like to invite you to become our Founding Ambassadors, of whom I entrust The Catholic Foundation, and its success, via your custodianship.
Circulating now is a pin I would like to present to you as Founding Ambassadors.
As you take out and wear your pin, I hope you now have a renewed confidence in the Church, our works and ministry, and are further happy to share the good news circulating our Diocese.
If you also feel compelled and moved to make a donation tonight, as promised, I will not decline.
Just fill out the card attached to your pin, place in an envelope and leave in the bowl on each table. A staff member will collect shortly from each table.
Mr dear friends, although we have reached an end to what was previously called the “Diocesan Works Fund”, together we have started a new journey in The Catholic Foundation, of which I hope you will continue to join me in building faith, hope and charity across Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.
Thank you and God bless.
Most Rev Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv
Bishop of Parramatta