Former lawyer to Carmelite priest: Meet Lismore's new bishop
FORMER lawyer and current Carmelite priest, Fr Gregory Homeming, hopes to bring years of experience and a refined ability to listen in his new role as Lismore's bishop.
The bishop elect accepted the appointment to Lismore last week, to be ordained on February 22.
He said after 31 years he was sad about leaving the Carmelite monastery, yet humbled to have the opportunity to serve the Lismore community.
"I hope to be good for the people ... the heart of Carmelite life is our prayer, so I hope what I've learnt in prayer I'll be able to bring to the diocese," Fr Homeming said.
"We spent a lot of time listening to God, I hope I can turn that listening to listening to the needs of the people and the priests."
Fr Homeming is not unfamiliar with Lismore either.
He said as well as making visits to the Carmelite Monastery in Goonellabah he often visits nearby relatives.
From lawyer to priest
Before becoming the Regional Vicar of the Discalced Carmelite Friars in Sydney, Fr Homeming worked in commercial law.
He graduated in Economics and Law from the University of Sydney, then worked at a large firm for five years.
Fr Homeming said he heard about the Carmelite order in his time at the law firm.
"A friend had joined ... I went out to visit him and from that first visit I knew somehow this was where I would be," Fr Homeming explained.
"I struggled with that silly thought for three years and in the end I thought I had to give it a go, so I joined, not thinking I would last it out.
"It was the best thing I ever did. If I had my time again I would do it all again."
Fr Homeming shared how he spent his last Christmas at the Sydney monastery.
He said the first thing on his schedule was the midnight mass, followed by other church services.
As the main cook at the monastery he prepared a Christmas dinner of seafood, ham and baked vegetables, topped off with pudding for dessert.
What does the bishop do?
The bishop is the prinicpal teacher in his diocese. He must also ensure those teaching in his name are teaching the truth.
The bishop has a responsibility to the local community and must ensure that church laws are observed. He is also responsible for the finances of the diocese and supplying training.
A bishop is responsible for ensuring that the sacraments are administered. The sacraments of the Catholic church are baptism, Eucharist (similar to communion), confirmation, reconciliation, anointing of the sick, marriage and holy orders. The bishop has the special authority to ordain priests.
Other obligations include:
- Living in the diocese for most of the year unless on official business
- Sending a report to Rome at least once every five years
- Visiting Rome to meet with the Pope at least once every five years
- Regularly visiting each part of their diocese
- Attending Synods (meetings of Bishops) when they are called.