The Master of the Order’s Flying Visit to Sydney


We had the honour and pleasure of hosting the Master in Sydney last month for 23 hours and 30 minutes.  Fr Bruno and his Socius, Fr Vincent, arrived on Tuesday 11 June, on a perfect Sydney winter's afternoon.  They were met off the aeroplane by the local Prior and Subprior.  The Master travels light, so our stay in Australia's busiest airport was mercifully brief and we made our way back to St James' Priory.  The Sydney community have been based at the Parish of Glebe (formerly Forest Lodge) since October 2004, and in the city itself since 1946 (in Wahroonga).

After being shown their rooms, the successor of St Dominic joined the community for Evening Prayer and a meal.  Bishop Anthony Fisher OP of Parramatta and Fr Andrew Fornal OP of the Polish Province also joined the community.  Bishop Anthony has responsibility for the country's fastest growing and youngest diocese, and Fr Andrew was installed by the Bishop as Parish Priest of St Joseph's Kingswood in February this year.  We are delighted that the Polish Province has begun to found a community in western Sydney, with a view to parochial and tertiary chaplaincy apostolates.

The Master brought the community together for a plenary meeting with those assigned to St James', a total of seven friars.  The plenary meeting gave the brothers an opportunity to describe a little of what Dominican life is like in Sydney.  The friars are involved in academic work, two local parishes, St James' Glebe and St Bede's Pyrmont, and two of Sydney's universities, the University of Sydney and the Notre Dame Australia, the latter of which Prior John Neill marks 25 years of service this year.  Then the individual interviews began.  Brothers remarked on the Master's impressive work ethic during his stay.

On Wednesday 12 June, the following day, Fr Bruno offered the sacrifice of the Mass with members of the Dominican family at St Benedict's Church, Broadway.  St Benedict's is the oldest dedicated Catholic Church in Sydney (1842).  The chaplaincy of the University of Notre Dame Australia fruitfully contributes to the daily life of the inner-city parish.  The friars were joined at the Votive Mass of St Dominic by Sisters from a number of Dominican congregations and members of various Laity chapters, not to mention the many friends of the Order who have met our family through the various apostolates.  It was a joy to hear the Introit "In medio Ecclesiae" sung with such gusto from all corners of the Church.  The University of Notre Dame Australia kindly and generously hosted a light lunch for the Master and his guests.  Fr Bruno spoke briefly and beautifully on the role of Dominicans: "We must come down from the pulpit too, and speak to them about our best friend, Jesus."

Fr Bruno left for Brisbane that same afternoon, and left behind his Dominican brethren who were grateful of his generosity with his time and attentiveness and charity to those assigned to St James' Priory, Sydney.

Fr Paul Rowse, O.P.

For more pictures -

(1 July 2013)