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Pell outlines 'central challenge' during installation homily

Dr George Pell was installed last night as the eighth Archbishop of Sydney in a ceremony in the city's St Mary's Cathedral.

As former Archbishop of Melbourne, he replaces Cardinal Edward Clancy, who was farewelled at a special Mass in the Cathedral last Sunday.

Pope John Paul II's representative in Australia, Archbishop Francesco Canalini, was present along with all the Australian bishops.

During the homily, Archbishop Pell identified revitalisation of the faith, particularly among young people, as his most urgent task.

He said: "It is here we have our central challenge. The most significant religious change in Australia over the last fifty years is the increase of people without religion, now about one-fifth of the population; more among young people."

Archbishop Pell also cited the urgent need for more vocations to the priesthood, suggesting that "without priests our parishes will wither and die".

He said: "A priestless parish is a contradiction in terms, because there is no parish without the sacraments, without baptism, eucharist, reconciliation."

Also in attendence were heads and representatives of other faith communities, as well as leaders of religious congregations, representatives of Federal and State legislatures, delegates from every parish and school in the Archdiocese, and Archbishop Pell's own family and friends. More than 300 priests were expected to participate as concelebrants.

Click here to read the full text of Archbishop Pell's homily.

Catholic Communications