Society Matters | Volume 32 No. 2 | Winter 2022 [Vietnamese]

Volume 32 No. 2 | Winter 2022 8 Society Matters Former Provincial becomes Australia’s first SVD bishop Australia has gained its first Divine Word Missionary bishop with the episcopal ordination of Bishop Tim Norton SVD as Auxiliary Bishop of Brisbane. Bishop Tim was ordained at St Stephen’s Cathedral on February 22 by Archbishop Mark Coleridge, who said the appointment of an SVD bishop was in some ways unexpected, but timely, because the Church needed to be more missionary. “Tim will be different, and that is good; it’s one of the reasons he’s been chosen,” he said. Archbishop Coleridge said there was “a time not long ago when we thought of missionary bishops as those who went off to mission countries – people like Archbishop Doug Young of Mt Hagen in Papua New Guinea who joins us here today”. “Like Tim, Doug is a Divine Word Missionary, and it makes sense therefore that he go to the highlands of PNG and serve as a bishop there. But Brisbane is a long way from Mt Hagen; and it seems less obvious that a Divine Word Missionary should be appointed here,” he said. “But the fact is that the distinction between missionary and non-missionary countries has lapsed. Every country and every place is now mission territory, a frontier land, Brisbane as much as Mt Hagen. “There are differences of course, but every bishop is now a missionary bishop; and Tim, I hope will remind us of this both in the Archdiocese and beyond.” The Episcopal Ordination Mass had all the trademarks of a SVD gathering, with a large contingent of confreres making the trip to Brisbane for the occasion. The liturgy was also marked by the SVD multicultural charism, with Pacific Islander parishioners from St Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Marsden processing the Gospels in with song and dance and later, during Holy Communion, a hymn sung by the Vietnamese Catholic Choir from Inala. There was also a welcome to country by a local Murri man, followed by a smoking ceremony as the clergy processed into the cathedral. After lying prostrate before the altar as the litany of saints was sung over him, the new bishop was ordained by Archbishop Coleridge with the laying on of hands and the prayer of ordination. Co-ordaining bishops were Auxiliary Bishop of Brisbane Ken Howell and Bishop Doug Young SVD. Archbishop Coleridge then presented Bishop Tim with the Book of Gospels and the symbols of the episcopal ministry – the ring, the mitre, and the crozier or shepherd’s staff. Bishop Tim thanked all those who had worked behind the scenes to make the liturgy run so smoothly, as well as those present, singing, reading and taking part in the liturgy. “While this episcopal ordination is an important event in the life of the Church in the Archdiocese of Brisbane, it’s even more a celebration of the activities of the Church in the world,” he said. “Vatican II, ad gentes, told us that the Church is missionary by its very nature and, citing an SVD colleague of mine, Divine Word Missionary Stephen Bevans, it’s not so much that the Church has a mission, but that the mission has a Church. And one of the many expressions of the Church in the world is through liturgy. “So, we are gathered together today as Church to express not just a faith in this mission of God but a commitment to it, calling on the Holy Spirit to assist us. And mission has context. From the people sleeping rough each night around the precinct of this cathedral, to people with addictions, to rights for women, minorities, indigenous people, for those who are sick, the issues of farmers in Australia and India and Botswana, to the tensions in Syria, Ethiopia and Ukraine – the tensions and terror. “Our gathering in the name of God expresses our commitment to the mission of God in the world, our world, this world that we must do better to care for.” A Newsletter of the Divine Word Missionaries Inc - Australia Province Donations to the SVD AUS Province Overseas Aid Fund can be made online at or by mailing to DivineWord Missionary Appeal Office, Locked Bag 3, Epping NSW, 1710, Australia. +61 2 9868 9015 @svdaus Society Matters