Archbishop's notes: January 2021

By Archbishop Malcolm McMahon

I am writing this on the 20th anniversary of my Ordination as a bishop. Every bishop will tell you of the moment he received his call to be a bishop. Unlike most callings that we receive to serve God in his Church, this one comes out of the blue and isn't the result of a process of discernment or preparation, at least by the new bishop.

One of the many gifts I received from the Dominicans, whence I came, was to develop an inner freedom which didn't tie me to a particular place or particular work. There is no stability in Dominican life; this is a literal fact. My call to be a bishop, however, meant I had to move away from the Order and live a life without the support of living in community. Thankfully, the priests, religious and people of the dioceses I have served have filled the gap through their friendship, prayers and good humour.

I have learnt much from them all since I have been a bishop, but one thing stands out and that is a deeper awareness of the vocation of the baptised. The universal call to holiness took on a new meaning for me when I saw it in action in people's lives. One of the graces of being a bishop is to have an overview of the Church. No longer do I see things from my own narrow perspective; rather, because of the many people I meet and get to know, as well as the contact I have with them in their joys and sufferings and the life which they live in the Spirit of God, my eyes have been opened.