Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As we approach the joyful season of Christmas this year, we have heavy hearts. The Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse has concluded. The Church with so many other Australian institutions carries the responsibility for so much harm done, and for the failure to have adequately responded to previous crimes. Like you, I am ashamed and distressed. I don’t think that I will ever be able to say all that should be said, nevertheless, I will, over the coming months, speak to you as your bishop.
On behalf of the Church in the Diocese of Lismore I apologise to every person who was abused as a child within any of the Church’s parishes, schools, and other bodies. This should never have happened, we failed in what happened to you and in the trust which you were entitled to have. We should have cared for you. I will do whatever I can do to support you.
I would like to assure you; the Church in Australia has put in place a stringent safeguarding protocol which, we hope, will ensure that child abuse will never happen again in the Church. I know that no protocol will ever provide the perfect safety net, and so we will continue to scrutinize and improve our safeguarding procedures.
The Church will do its best to comply with the recommendations of the Royal Commission.
As a new bishop, I have, over the last 9 months, visited every parish in the diocese. I have been impressed by the goodness and commitment of each priest.
As I look at our country and indeed the world, I have an intense desire to return to the Monastery from which I came. Why continue to be part of this? However as I stand at the altar and look at you, my brothers and sisters, who I am growing to love, I know that I must stay here with you; praying, supporting and caring. In the present darkness, we must walk together carrying the Church into a new future.
In the past, when I have had to do challenging and difficult things, I would always ask God to help me; I did a deal with Jesus – “I will do my best so long as you bring me through as a better person”.
Let’s all pray this prayer! Let’s focus on what the Church is about: living and preaching the Gospel, and caring for those in need. If we do this, together we will make the Church of the future a better Church.
With my prayers and best wishes for a blessed Christmas,
Bishop Greg Homeming OCD
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Since we are beginning the season of Lent. I thought it would be good to send a letter to you, in the hope that it will help you think about the meaning of Lent.
Each year we enter Lent aiming to prepare ourselves for Easter. As each year comes and goes we think of what to do and what to give up, almost as if Lent is an exercise in holiness. I want to ask you a simple question: “Have your Lenten exercises made you into a better person?”, because if they have, each Lent should build on the previous Lent in such a way that you are indeed becoming a better person.
We might give up chocolates in Lent only to splurge on Easter Sunday. We might pray more and read the bible in Lent, only to give up for the rest of the year. If this is the case, Lent has made no real impact on your life. I think that each Lent should be a step on our way to holiness, so that as the years progress, we change for the better.
Unlike Advent which asks us to focus on our giftedness, Lent asks us to focus on our weaknesses and failings. If you are like me, you would prefer not to look at your weaknesses. The paradox of life is this - God has given us our weaknesses so that through them we might achieve a real freedom and learn how to love. My weaknesses are mine, and God wants to break into my life through them. I must learn how to live in my frailty.
I suggest that we all look at ourselves and choose one weakness and, for the duration of Lent, try to counteract it. This is real penance. To give up something which I don’t really enjoy and which is not really a problem for me can, in the full picture of life, be a waste of time. Just as to do something loving, which I enjoy doing, will not make me a better person. Lent asks us to work against our selfish instincts.
If you are a greedy person, fight the weakness and each day give up something which you want. If you are impatient, each day work against the impulse by giving a little time to someone you would normally avoid. If you are selfish with your time, live as if your time was not yours, and do things for others. I could give more examples. Spend a few days thinking about yourself and work out the ways in which you need to change, and then gently begin to counteract your weaknesses in Lent.
Don’t try to do too much because you might fail in your resolve. Take it gently and as each Lent moves into Easter you will be a slightly better person, and as the years move on you will be on the path to holiness.
One last thing, add to your Lenten exercise time for prayer and reading the Gospel. Prayer and thoughtful reading of the Gospel will guide you.
Thank you for the wonderful welcome which you have given to me as your new bishop. Please pray for me. I am looking forward to meeting you as I travel around the diocese.
With my prayers and good wishes,
Bishop Greg Homeming OCD
TALKS WILL BE HELD IN ST CARTHAGE'S CATHEDRAL 7.00pm - 8.00pm
Monday 19th February
Monday 26th February
Monday 5th March
Monday 12th March
Monday 19th March
Everyone is welcome to attend.
A Wonderful Night of Prayer The Diocese of Lismore and the Cathedral Parish joined in prayer to welcome Bishop Gregory Homeming as the sixth Bishop of Lismore on Wednesday night. People, Clergy, Religious, students and families have expressed their joy in being part of the Prayers.
We really welcome Bishop Gregory into our Parish family as our Bishop, whose leadership, governance and preaching will assist us greatly on our journey with Jesus.
We pray with and for Bishop Gregory at every Mass. We also look forward to Bishop Gregory in his pastoral work as a successor to The Apostles in our Cathedral.
A Quote from Bishop Gregory: Following the ordination Bishop Homeming told the congregation, ‘I am your bishop; with the emphasis on “your”. I belong to you. The people, religious and priests of Lismore will show me my job. I will listen to you, and together we will discern God’s will for our diocese. Our weaknesses and failings will not be an obstacle because, I believe, they will guide us. As Our Lord said to St Paul, “I am strong in your weakness”. My role is that of a shepherd who leads his people, with a simple focus, to stand in the presence of God. I pray that I will not be an obstacle. I pray that you will come to know the love of Christ and be filled with the utter fullness of God,’ he added.
The Bishop-elect Fr Greg Homeming will receive Episcopal Ordination on 22 February 2017 at 7pm in St Carthage’s Cathedral at which our new bishop will also take canonical possession of the See in assuming the Cathedra as Sixth Bishop of Lismore.
Everyone is invited to attend this wonderful celebration for the Diocese of Lismore.
Seating Allocation for the Ordination There will be some 230 seats available for parishioners to be seated in the Cathedral and an additional 330 seats in a marquee set up outside in front of Doyle House. A number of video screens will be place in the those areas not in sight of the altar, including the marquee. The Cathedral will not be opened to unreserved seating until 5.30pm from that time it will be first come First served, and the available seats must be occupied immediately with no reservations.
Live Streaming Link information
Please find some information for the link to the live streaming for the Episcopal Ordination which will take place on Wednesday evening at 7pm.
Go to the Diocesan website lismorediocese.org and click on the LIVESTREAM (yellow box) on the homepage far right; or
Generally, subject to the number of people acessing the website, advice we have received suggests that the LINK will provide better clarity.
SIXTH BISHOP OF LISMORE
Pope Francis appoints Fr Gregory Homeming O.C.D. as sixth Bishop of Lismore and accepted the resignation of Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett. Bishop Jarrett has served the Diocese of Lismore for the past 15 years.
Fr Homeming is currently the Regional Vicar of the Discalced Carmelite Friars in Sydney, Australia. Speaking about his appointment today, he said, ‘I am humbled by the news. I knew that I had to say yes after the past 31 years as a Friar. There is a lot that I have to learn. I hope that the people and the priests of the Diocese of Lismore will teach me how to be their bishop.
Fr Homeming brings wide experience as a retreat-giver, spiritual director and leader. His gifts will be a great enrichment to the Church in Australia.’
Born in Sydney on 30 May 1958, to an Australian Chinese family, Fr Homeming completed his primary education in Shepparton, Victoria and secondary school at St Aloysius College, Milsons Point. He took degrees in Economics and Law at Sydney University and then worked as a lawyer in a Sydney law firm from 1981 to 1985.
At the end of 1985, Fr Homeming joined the Discalced Carmelite Order making his first profession on 1 February 1987. He then studied a Bachelor of Theology at Melbourne College of Divinity and a Masters in Philosophy at the University of Melbourne.
Fr Homeming was ordained a priest on 20 July 1991. As a Discalced Carmelite, he has held the positions of Major Superior, Novice Master, Prior and Retreat Director.
In addition to his love of spiritual direction and retreat formation, Fr Homeming enjoys reading, classical music, art and cooking Chinese meals for the friars.
Arrangements regarding the episcopal ordination are yet to be determined.
The 2016 National Church Life Survey (NCLS) is underway in thousands of churches across Australia, during October and November. This survey is considered the world’s largest longitudinal study of church life, reaching 25 years in 2016. Our church community of the St Carthage's Parish including Dunoon and Goolmangar will participate in the survey on the weekend masses at St Carthage's Cathedral on the 26 and 27 November.
Your participation in the survey ensures your voice is heard and will assist in identifying our strengths and build on our vitality for a stronger community for all. Details of the NCLS can be found at http://www.ncls.org.au/default.aspx?sitemapid=7258.
Any parishioner unable to participate on the 26 and 27 November at Cathedral masses is encouraged to contact the Parish Office for a survey form. Please return all surveys to the Parish Office by 10am on Monday 28 November.
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