EPISCOPAL ORDINATION OF BISHOP LESLIE ROGERS TOMLINSON CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT SAINT PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE ON WEDNESDAY 17 JUNE 2009 AT 7.30 PM
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
With joy at the outpouring of the Spirit which ensures that the work of the Saviour lives and grows in our time, I welcome you to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral for the Episcopal Ordination of Bishop Les Tomlinson. We are united with the Tomlinson family and people of the Archdiocese, as we thank God for the paternal love of Pope Benedict in giving us a new Auxiliary Bishop to teach, sanctify and govern God’s people with wisdom and love.
Pope Benedict’s care is made visibly present by the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Guiseppe Lazzarotto. We ask him to extend to the Holy Father our deep gratitude and our prayers.
My brother archbishops and bishops, priests and deacons, religious and laity, are here at this moment of celebration and sincere prayer. It is in Christ that we live and have our being. It is Christ that we proclaim as humbly we call to mind our sins.
“It is not ourselves that we are preaching but Christ Jesus as the Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.” (2 Cor 4:5)
When Jesus entrusted to his apostles with the power of the Holy Spirit, the mission to teach and gather every race and people into a single flock, to be guided and governed into the way of holiness, he did so in such a way that there would be ensured an unbroken succession from one generation to the next, as a sign of his constant, provident care.
Over the two thousand years of the Church’s existence and throughout the 162 years of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, this loving service has been continued with distinction by my predecessors and those associated with them, supported by the courageous service of priests and deacons, first from Ireland then from Australia, and enriched by those born in a myriad of countries. These come from diocesan priesthood and a wide range of religious orders.
The whole mission of the Church is that we be formed into Christ, nourished by Word and sacrament, and missioned to bring the Gospel to every creature. In this evening’s Gospel reading, Our Lord prays especially for those he calls to be apostles and, in a particular way, for the Bishop-elect: “consecrate them in the truth: your word is truth.” (John 17:17.)
However, it is the image of Jesus the Good Shepherd, prefigured in the Ezekiel reading which is the primary point of reference for priests and bishop alike. Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote: “No one in fact can be considered a pastor worthy of the name unless he is made one with Christ through love.” (Saint Thomas Aquinas, on the Gospel of John, X 3.)
Pope John Paul went further in his final homily for the Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October 2001, when he said “the ideal figure of the Bishop on which the Church continues to count, is that of the pastor who, configured to Christ by his holiness of life, expends himself generously for the Church entrusted to him, while at the same time bearing in his heart a concern for all the churches throughout the world (cf 2 Cor 11:28)”.
By ordination an auxiliary bishop becomes a member of the College of Bishops and shares in its function, united with the successor of Peter and in its pastoral powers of teaching, sanctifying and governing in collegial communion throughout the Universal Church. From union with the College of Bishops derives union of an auxiliary bishop in mind and heart with the bishop and diocese to which he is appointed.
My brother Les, since your ordination to the priesthood on 18 August 1972 by Bishop Ronald Mulkearns, you have been a generous and exemplary priest. You are well known to priests and people in Melbourne and Hobart for your patience and goodness, your love of the Ch