Welcome Dinner for Cardinal Levada
It is with great joy that I welcome you to the Archdiocese of Brisbane and the State of Queensland. I do so conscious of your generosity in making your long journey to be with us. Having travelled the same journey myself on a number of occasions, I realise its challenge, particularly when one has passed the magic mark of three score and ten, an age that often brings wisdom, but not always the stamina needed for such journeys. Your trip to Brisbane, Eminence is all the more generous considering that only recently you accompanied the Holy Father on his very successful but demanding trip to America. The honour you do us by your visit is even more significant, given that for the first time ever, the Archdiocese has been visited by a Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Considering the distance of Australia from Rome our scarcity of contact is understandable. Indeed Eminence the distance makes your visit all the more admirable considering the discomfort that accompanies such a long journey. Could I welcome also Fr Steven Lopes your secretary who accompanied you on this journey, and Fr Tony Randazzo, who has also returned home for this occasion. I thank you all for your generosity in coming. In the next few days I hope all of you will recover quickly from the jet lag that accompanies travellers on their journey down under.
Could I thank also all you people who have gathered here this evening, all of whom contribute so much to the well being of this Archdiocese. Tonight is not a night for speeches, but I need to thank you Eminence for sharing this meal with some of the key people of the Archdiocese of Brisbane. Without them the Archdiocese could not function. It is as simple as that. I try never to take them for granted. I am deeply grateful for everything they do.
Your visit Eminence, particularly with the opening of the Holy Spirit Seminary will bring many blessings on the Archdiocese of Brisbane and on the Province of Queensland. For this we are truly grateful. Despite the busyness of your visit I hope there will be some time over the next few days to see just a little more of our sunny state of Queensland, of which we are justifiably proud.
Archbishop John Bathersby
24 April 2008