In his first public celebration of Mass since he became ill with Guillain-Barré Syndrome, the Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher OP, celebrated the Chrism Mass at St Mary's Cathedral on Thursday morning, and also Easter Sunday.
- Sydney Catholic
The Holy Thursday Mass was concelebrated by more than 100 priests of the Archdiocese of Sydney, as well as others from religious orders who serve within the Archdiocese. Also present were deacons, religious brothers and sisters, seminarians and lay faithful from Sydney and beyond.
In his opening remarks, Archbishop Fisher told those gathered that he had longed to celebrate Mass with the priests and faithful of Sydney while he had been suffering, expressing his joy at being back in the Cathedral.
He invited those gathered to pray in thanksgiving for acknowledged Fathers Thomas Stevens, Lewi Barakat, Joshua Miechels, Mate Litric, Gustavo Criollo and Daney Irudaya Doss, each of whom had been ordained in the past year.
He also spoke of Father Frank Martin, Sydney's longest-serving priest who, at the age of 99 and after 75 years of priesthood, passed away this month and asked for prayers for him and Father Peter Quilty, who also died this year.
In his homily, Archbishop Fisher focused on the symbolism of hands. He told those gathered that Catholic hands are for directing all creation to God, and that priestly hands are anointed to bless and sacramentalise creation.
Speaking then of his illness, Archbishop Fisher said that his sickness has led him to much more appreciate the importance of hands, with his right hand and arm being the first indicator of muscle weakness before complete paralysis from the neck-down struck within 24 hours. He has been told that his hands will be the last thing to recover, reflecting that they are not only important for simple daily tasks, but for his ministry as a priest and bishop.
"I miss the use of my hands even more because they are so important to our ministry as priests," he said. At times I wished I had lost the function of my legs for much longer and had my hands back sooner."
Photo: Archbishop Anthony Fisher at Chrism Mass in St Mary's Cathedral on Thursday
Archbishop Fisher joins flock for Holy Thursday Chrism Mass (Sydney Catholic)
Archbishop Fisher homily for Mass for Easter Sunday (Sydney Catholic)
Archbishop Fisher homily for Holy Thursday (Catholic Weekly)
Malcolm Turnbull joins thousands for Easter (Daily Telegraph)