Mass for the meeting of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference at Mary MacKillop Chapel, Sydney

Tuesday 22 November 2016

My dear Brothers and Sisters,

Once again we are gathered as bishops and collaborators, together with our Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana, whose presence indicates our unity with our Holy Father, Pope Francis.

In the Eucharist we do as Jesus did, in memory of him, because the story of Jesus is linked with the history of people and of all humanity with our search for an enduring love.

Today we entrust our deliberations and fraternal work in Conference to the Holy Spirit, remembering the words of Pope Francis in 2007, as Archbishop of Rio: “And this is what I ask of you today: that you be moved by the Holy Spirit to bring all of those around you into the mystery of God. Make them enter into the mystery; not by yourselves but by the power of the Holy Spirit. Be the conduit of the Holy Spirit so that all our brothers and sisters who have been baptised and anointed recognise that our journey is towards the mystery of God. Fighting we gain nothing, we must walk in the way of the Holy Spirit.”

I have always deeply esteemed the spirit and frankness with which our deliberations have been conducted and my prayer is that the Holy Spirit will guide us remembering, again in the words of Pope Francis, that ‘the anointing of the Holy Spirit is charity, gentleness, meekness and love’, so that our guidance by the Holy Spirit will initiate us and those we serve into the mystery of God.

We come in our human frailty and openness to the power of the Spirit, knowing that he can transform us and that as we have completed the Year of Mercy each of us has known the limitless mercy of God, inviting us to be instruments and apostles of that same mercy in our deliberations and in our pastoral care of our people.

So, too, today we gather up the work of our local churches in the common endeavour of drawing the Church in Australia into the mystery of God. “Holy Spirit, come confirm us in the truth that Christ makes known: we have faith and understanding through your helping gifts alone.”

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