Visiting local jails in the lead-up to Christmas will be high on Christopher Prowse's agenda as he begins work as the seventh archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn, reports The Canberra Times.
Bishop Prowse will formally take on his new role during a ceremony at St Christopher's Cathedral this morning. The liturgical reception and Mass will be attended by more than 30 bishops, other church and community representatives, and federal and local politicians.
The former Bishop of Sale moved into his new residence next to Lake Burley Griffin at the end of last week. In a break between meetings and and attending a rehearsal for the ceremony, Bishop Prowse said he wanted to try and serve the entire local community, not just Catholics.
He was particularly keen to visit prisoners and see first-hand the work charities were doing during the Christmas season. 'I want to reach out to the periphery and the margins; particularly to the people who are struggling,'' he said.
In his homily on Tuesday, Bishop Prowse will draw upon the biblical account of Jesus telling St Peter to take his boat into deep water to fish. In the same way, he said, the church needed to head into new waters. ''It's a very exciting mission for the church today, in contrast to a simple circling of the wagons and a siege mentality,' Bishop Prowse said.
''The exact opposite response is needed. But not one that imposes, but proposes. When we start to impose we alienate.
'When we … propose we excite and give hope. I think Pope Francis is doing that.'