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Diaconate Ordination Homily 29 April 2022

“So that the saints together make a unity in the work of service, building up the body of Christ.”

These words from St. Paul to the church at Ephesus bring together the theme of the three readings that Nam chose for his ordination to the diaconate, and it is at the heart of what it means to be the Church.

When St. Paul talks about saints, he is not talking about people in heaven. He’s talking about ordinary Christians like you and me. We are the saints, the holy people, called together to be a presence of Christ in the world.

But, of course, if you read enough of St. Paul, you will see that he knows that we saints are not always people who act in a saintly way. One of our problems as human beings is that we are often very self-centered, and we are often people who are difficult to work with.

One of Paul’s big themes, and he repeats it in this reading today, is that every person in the Church is called to a particular ministry. Thirteen years ago when I became Bishop of Bathurst, I said, “I’m only a bishop, and there are some things I can’t do; but there are some things that only I can do. That goes for each one of us. There are some things that only you can do, and if you don’t them, they won’t be done.”

The life of the church depends on each of us learning from God and learning from the Church what our ministry is to be, “and the saints together make a unity of service”.

You can see in the first reading today, which talks about the beginning of the diaconate which arose because the young Church, whose members had originally all been Jews, started to let in Gentiles. Of course, this caused something of a culture clash: in this instance, some of the Gentile widows thought they weren’t being looked after well enough. So the Church got together and decided to start this service of the diaconate.

In the Gospel tonight, Jesus addresses the reality that we, as humans, can be very self-centered. We can also be very self-important, and it’s part of human frailty. Even in a playground, you’ll see some children wanting to be the most important one there. Jesus is calling the Apostles to leadership in the Church to that specific form of service that is leadership because, without leadership, a body, an organization, a Church can’t function.

One of Nam’s great achievements in the Seminary was as captain of the soccer team. Although the year he was captain, they just missed out on the national championship, the following year, they won for the only time in the history of the seminary. I told Nam that it was probably the spirit of the team he built up the year before. But whether it’s a soccer team or a parish, the Church needs leadership.

However, Jesus is reminding the apostles that if you are the leader, it means you’ve got a particular job to do, but you are supposed to remember that this leadership is not for your glory. It is for the glory of God and it’s for the service of the Church.

Today is the Feast of St. Catherine of Siena, who was a third-order Dominican, and a woman who led, in some ways, a restricted life, but who had an enormous influence on the Church of her day and, through her writings, continues to have an influence on us as a Doctor of the Church.

Whatever circumstances we find ourselves in, whatever local church we find ourselves in, there is a work of service to be done, and no one person can do that alone. The Church exists for us to be in this “unity of service to build up the body of Christ”.

So we rejoice that Nam is to be ordained a Deacon tonight. From this day, he needs your prayers in a very special way.”

+Michael McKenna

Bishop of Bathurst

Rev Nam Dinh Le’s Diaconate Ordination mass

Bishop Michael McKenna with Rev Nam Dinh Le with Nam’s parents.

Homily in Vietnamese

Messages

2022

Bishop McKenna’s Lenten Message

2021

Bishop McKenna’s Christmas Message 2021

Good Shepherd Sunday 2021

Bishop McKenna’s Easter Message

Bishop McKenna’s Lenten Message

A message from Bishop McKenna on the death of Fr Tim Cahill – 8 January 2021

2020

A message from Bishop McKenna on the death of Fr Joseph Dooley P.E. – 25 December 2020

Bishop McKenna’s Christmas Message 2020

Bishop McKenna appoints Fr Reynold Jaboneta Parish Priest of Oberon

A message from Bishop McKenna on the occasion of Id al-fitr

Bishop McKenna’s Easter Message 2020

A Letter to the Pastors and People of the Diocese of Bathurst “Pray and Serve”

“The Mass Continues” A Letter from Bishop McKenna 23 March 2020

All public Masses in the Diocese cancelled from 21 March 2020

A Letter from Bishop McKenna to the People of the Diocese – COVID19

Bishop McKenna’s Lenten Message 2020

Bishop McKenna’s Homily (edited) for the Oridnation of Fr Dong Van Nguyen and Fr Karl Sinclair

2019

Bishop McKenna’s Christmas Message

Bishop McKenna’s Pastoral Letter – Lead Kindly Light

Bishop McKenna’s Advent Message 2019

A message from Bishop McKenna on Child Protection Sunday

COMMUNION AND FORMATION ~ Bishop Michael McKenna reflects on his Ad Limina visit 2019

A statement from Bishop McKenna in relation to proposed changes to abortion laws in NSW

A message from Bishop McKenna for National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday 2019

A message from Bishop McKenna on Good Shepherd Sunday

Bishop requests the Diocese to unite in prayer for Sri Lanka

EASTER 2019 – A message from Bishop McKenna

Bishop McKenna’s Lenten Message

2018

Bishop McKenna’s Christmas Message

Pastoral Letter 2018

A message from Bishop McKenna in relation to the National Apology

A message from Bishop McKenna on NATSI Sunday 2018

A message from Bishop McKenna – The Fifth Australian Plenary Council

A Message from Bishop McKenna from the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conference Oceania, PNG

Bishop McKenna’s Easter Message 2018

Bishop McKenna’s Lenten Message 2018

 


2017

Bishop McKenna’s Christmas Message

Pastoral Letter 2017

Bishop McKenna’s Advent Message 2017

Let’s discover the gift of the Rosary

Christian Marriage

Child Protection Sunday 2017

Watch and Act

Fr Antony Vattakkunnel appointed as Priest in Residence, Coonamble

New Appointments to the Diocese of Bathurst

Invitation to Survivors

Bishop McKenna’s Easter Message 2017

Bishop McKenna’s Lenten Message 2017

 


2016

Bishop McKenna’s 2016 Christmas Message 

Clergy Appointments 2016

Prayer the Chuch’s Banquet – Pastoral Letter 2016

Bishop McKenna’s Child Protection Sunday 2016 Message

Statement regarding St Joseph’s House, Perthville

Bishop McKenna visits Nagaland

Bishop McKenna’s Easter Message 2016

Bishop’s Lenten Message 2016

Pope Francis’ Lenten Message 2016

 


2015

Bishop McKenna’s Christmas Message 2015

God the Father of Mercies – Pastoral Letter 2015

Bishop McKenna’s Avent Message 2015

Bishop McKenna’s Reflections on the Diocesan Pilgrimage

A Message from Bishop McKenna for Social Justice Sunday 2015

A message from Bishop McKenna on the death of Father Doug Akehurst cm

The Sacrament of Penance and Abortions

Deacons for the Diocese of Bathurst

Bishop’s pastoral message about Christian Marriage

Bishop McKenna welcomes Pope Francis’ encyclical: Care for Our Common Home

Bishop’s Easter Message for 2015

Bishop Appoints College of Consultors and Clergy Appointments Board

Bishop McKenna appoints new Vicar General

Bishop’s Lenten Message for 2015


2014

Bishop’s Homily – Requiem Mass – Mons John Frawley – 30th December 2014

A message from Bishop McKenna on the death Mons. John Frawley 

Bishop’s Christmas Message 2014

Bishop Michael McKenna advises of Clergy appointments in the Diocese

Bishop’s Message to God’s People of the Diocese of Bathurst

Prayer Request for Synod – Sunday 28th September

Homily for Father Aeneas Francis (Hugh) Delaney

Bishop’s Message for Vocations Awareness Week 2014

The Spirit Comes to help us in our weakness – Pastoral Letter – Pentecost 2014

Good Shepherd Sunday – May 2014

Josephite Fusion – May 2014 – Homily

Bishop’s Easter Message for 2014

Bishop’s Homily – Chrism Mass 2014

Bishop’s Lenten Message for 2014

Homily – Mass for 150th anniversary of Dean John Grant’s death


2013

Bishop’s Christmas Message 2013

Bishop’s Advent Message 2013

In the Beginning, the Word – Pastoral Letter to God’s People of the Diocese of Bathurst

Thank God for the Diocesan Assembly

Bishop McKenna’s Easter Message

Bishop McKenna’s Lenten Message


2012

Bishop’s Christmas Message ~ 2012

Message to the People of the Catholic Diocese of Bathurst

Message for Child Protection Week

Message for National Vocations Awareness Week 2012

“Rebuild My Church” – Pastoral Letter – September 2012

Funding Cuts to Catholic Schools – September 2012

Bishop McKenna’s Message for the Year of Grace

2011

Bishop’s Christmas Message – 2011

Bishop’s Lenten Message – 2011