The Most Reverend Anthony Fisher OP was installed as the ninth Archbishop of Sydney during a solemn Mass of Installation at St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney on 12 November 2014.
President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Denis Hart concelebrated the Mass with archbishops and bishops from overseas, priests of the Archdiocese of Sydney and of other dioceses and religious congregations.
The Apostolic Nuncio to Australia, Archbishop Paul Gallagher DD, read out in latin the Papal Bull appointing the Most Reverend Anthony Fisher OP DD Metropolitan Archbishop of Sydney. Chancellor of the Archdiocese, Mgr John Usher, read out the English translation of the Papal Bull.
President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Denis Hart congratulated the new Archbishop and said that becoming an Archbishop is always a quantum leap in service and responsibility. “Archbishop Fisher will teach, lead people to God in worship and give generous service. Knowledge of the people, being one with them, and walking with them where they are is so important. We wish him many years of dedicated and compassionate service.”
Arriving at Cathedral Square, the new Archbishop was welcomed by the Dean of the Cathedral, Very Reverend Paul Hilder, Auxiliary Bishops of Sydney Terry Brady and Peter Comensoli, Indigenous Elder Anunty Elsie Heiss and an honour guard of papal and equestrian-hospitaller knights, as children of the Catholic Schools Performing Arts choir sang a song of welcome.
Amongst the full Cathedral congregation gathered for the Mass, a number of federal and state politicians attended including representatives of other churches and major faiths.
Music was lead by the Choir of St Mary’s Cathedral, while Melbourne-based singer James Edwards performed ‘Lord I Need You’, as representatives of the clergy, religious and laity of the Archdiocese and its agencies, civic and religious leaders, congratulated the Archbishop on his new role as shepherd of the people of Sydney.
In his homily, Archbishop Fisher said: “Pope Francis said pastors should smell of their sheep. This is not a comment on clerical hygiene: it is an insistence that we are from and for our flocks. Pray, therefore, that I will always be a shepherd for Sydney after the heart of Jesus Christ.”
“What will this Archdiocese look like when, God willing I retire in 2035?” he asked. “My hope is for a Church in which the gospel is preached with joy, the wisdom of our tradition mined with fidelity, the sacraments celebrated with dignity and welcome, and the seminaries, convents and youth groups are teeming with new life.”
“That will depend hugely on three factors: our clergy and religious; our families; and our young people,” the Archbishop added.
Archbishop Hart said that “Archbishop Fisher is a gifted teacher who’s gifts and vision will bring people to a vibrant appreciation of catholic life, and will help our young people and families to move forward together in our modern society”.
Sr Mary Rachel Capets OP and Michael Diggs recited the readings. Prayers of the faithful were lead in diverse languages by members of various communities in the Archdiocese. Archbishop Fisher’s parents, Colin and Gloria, and his siblings Christopher, Angela, Louise and Gregory brought the Eucharistic gifts to the altar.
After Communion, the Archbishop moved through the aisles of the Cathedral and crypt blessing those in attendance. Returning to the altar, Archbishop Fisher thanked Archbishop Hart for concelebrating the Mass and Bishop Comensoli for his work as Archdiocesan Administrator in recent months. The new Archbishop thanked all his family, friends, diocesan clergy and said that he “missed the people of Parramatta already”.
Archbishop Fisher also congratulated the Apostolic Nuncio on his new appointment as Secretary for Relations with States, “On behalf of the Church of Sydney, I congratulate Archbishop Gallagher, the first Anglophone Foreign Minister of the Church, on his new appointment.”
The Archbishop’s Coat of Arms and motto records Archbishop Anthony’s personal motto: ‘Veritatem facientas in caritate’ from St Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians, which translates as ‘Speaking the truth in love’.