Archbishop Philip Wilson on heroes and Easter eggs

Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide

Adelaide's The Advertiser took time out on the tram for this Easter interview with Philip Wilson, the Archbishop of Adelaide and Vice-President of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference .  

- Interview by Monique Bowley

What were your memories of Easter as a child?

My memories were really fantastic because as a child I was very religious and I used to get my parents to take me to all the Easter ceremonies, Holy Thursday night, Good Friday vigil, and they were really wonderful.

They kind of went along with that. Then, when I was 12, I went to boarding school in Sydney, and during Holy Week, we used to have a school retreat. So the whole 800 of us would be in total silence for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Did your parents give you Easter eggs?

Oh yes of course. Our parents were generous to us in so many ways. Not over the top, but all things, like Christmas and Easter, were celebrated with great joy. They were really big times for the family. Our family was split on faith terms. We were Catholics but my mothers relatives were all Protestants so part of the experience was that despite the differences about church, we were all very close together. We always had wonderful times together

Who are your heroes?

Two of my heroes are about to be made saints. When I was eight, Pope John XXIII was elected and for some reason I was mesmerised by him. Then later on, when I was just a young priest, Pope John Paul II was elected. He was the one that appointed me a bishop and I had the opportunity to meet him twice, when we were just alone, and we could talk to one another.

I found that very profound. I've always admired his abilities and the kind of person that he was.

A lot of the heroes in my life are the people I've met as a priest and bishop. Ordinary people do great things. And you meet them all the time, they're all around us. All sorts of people both young and old have terrific commitment to help others. They're people that need to be recognised and we can learn from them too.

What is your Easter message?

We're talking about Easter hope. I've set my message against the reality of the Malaysian Airlines disappearance. We don't know where those people are. We don't know what's happened to them but in our faith and our view, we know that whatever has happened to them, that God would be caring for them. It's a very important part of the Easter message. It's not just about happy times, its really about giving comfort in the midst of trouble or difficulty.

So my Easter message would be to say to people: Look at your life. We need to look at our lives and see what difference it makes to say that Jesus is alive and present in our lives to help us.

IMAGE: Archbishop Philip Wilson chats with reporter Monique Bowley on the tram. Picture: Sam Wundke. Source: News Corp Australia

Read full interview: On the tram with Adelaide's Archbishop Philip Wilson (The Advertiser)

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