On Tuesday March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation, Sydney Catholic Schools farewelled His Eminence, George Cardinal Pell AC., from the Archdiocese of Sydney, in a solemn Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral.
Toward the end of February it was announced that His Holiness, Pope Francis, had appointed Cardinal Pell to the newly created ministry within the Vatican, ‘Prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy’. In this role, Cardinal Pell will be tasked with the prudent stewardship of the finances of the Catholic Church.
Ordained in 1987, Cardinal Pell was appointed by His Holiness, Pope John Paul II as the Archbishop of Sydney, replacing Cardinal Clancy who had retired. In 2003, Pope John Paul II elevated Archbishop Pell to the Sacred College of Cardinals.
Throughout his ministry, Cardinal Pell has always taken an interest in across all sectors of education. His Eminence, played a critical role in the establishment of the Australian Catholic University an in the establishment of a Sydney campus of the University of Notre Dame Australia. In the area of schools, Cardinal Pell has been a driving force behind the K-12 Sydney Religious Education Curriculum, including its current revisions. He ensured that the Religious Education Curriculum in the Archdiocese was supported by a high quality text in “To Konw, Worship and Love”. Every year, towards the start of Lent, Cardinal Pell would meet with student leaders from Year 12 to seek guidance and feedback from them regarding his annual ‘Pentecost Statement’. His support and efforts in the education sector were recognized many years ago when he was made a Fellow of the Australian College of Educators. His passion for evangelisation and youth ministry led to the Archdiocese of Sydney hosting the 2008 World Youth Day, the largest gathering in Australia’s history.
In his homily, Cardinal Pell spoke of how he had visited each Catholic school in the Archdiocese of Sydney. He reinforced the importance of being faithfulness to Jesus and to the teachings of the Church., whilst alluding to challenges that lay ahead of him in his new role in the Vatican as Prefect of the Vatican secretariat for the Economy.
In saying farewell to Cardinal Pell as our Archbishop of Sydney, we wait prayerfully, as the Church discerns who his successor should be. In the meantime, the final vote of thanks comes from Carissa Dunn, the College Captain of Clancy Catholic College, West Hoxton, who gave a farewell speech on behalf of Sydney Catholic schools.
“Cardinal Pell, for guiding us in times of trouble and turmoil, we are thankful. For your foundation and your strength, we are thankful. And for the significant contribution you have made to our lives, we will always be thankful. You are a man of God, a selfless man, and man dedicating your life to the greater good of the world. Your accomplishments shine bright, but it is your faith, that illuminates the world.”