First time in Australia. Invited by the archdiocese of Melbourne, we arrived on Sunday with Fr Giorgio Massa IMC. We are being hosted by the Marist Brothers. Before Melbourne we spent a few days in Sydney.
We landed at 6 am and by 1.30 pm we were at "Mary, Queen of the family" Parish in Blacktown (diocese of Parramatta) for the celebration of the Mass with the African community. Most of them are from South Sudan.
Fr Peter Confetti, the parish priest, welcomed us and told us the bishop would also be joining us. It would be his first visit to the parish as he was installed in the diocese of Parramatta in the middle of June having been auxiliary of Melbourne since 2011.
Bishop Vincent Long was born in 1961 in Dong Nai in Vietnam. Since the fall of Saigon in 1975, his family has been dispersed: his mother, a brother and a sister are in Melbourne, three brothers are in Holland, a sister remains in Vietnam, and Bishop Vincent is now in Parramatta.
At the beginning of his homily during his installation Mass he said: "The clergy and Catholic people of Parramatta have been waiting for long and here I am, only five feet and a half though. After 19 months without a bishop, you have been given one in the person of a Vietnamese Australian and a former boat person. Perhaps, you can add my appointment to the list of surprises that Pope Francis has done".
I was asked to preside the celebration of the Mass but both Bishop Vincent and myself would follow the instructions of Fr Peter as eleven baptisms had been planned.
It was a joyful and familiar celebration. During the homily people laughed when I apologised if something I said did not make sense fully but we had travelled many hours and had not settled down yet.
After Mass we remained together for some photos and... South Sudan food style!