Fr Richard Leonard SJ
Nominated by the Jesuit Provincial, Fr Quyen Vu SJ, Fr Richard Leonard SJ has been appointed by the Archbishop of Sydney as next the parish priest of Our Lady of the Way incorporating the communities of Star of Sea, Kirribilli, St Francis Xavier, Lavender Bay and St Mary's, North Sydney.
Richard is well known to many in the parish, having lived with us for 13 years as Superior of the Jesuit Community, a role he will continue to fulfil in the short term.
Richard has graduate degrees in theology and communications and a PhD from the University of Melbourne. He has been a visiting scholar within the School of Theatre, Film & Television at UCLA and a Visiting Professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He directed the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting for the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference for 22 years.
He is a regular columnist with The Tablet magazine in London and is the author of ten books including the international best sellers: Where the Hell is God?; Why Bother Praying?; and Hatch, Match & Dispatch: A Catholic Guide to Sacraments. His most recent book The Law of Love: Modern Words for Ancient Wisdom was released in April this year.
A highly acclaimed international speaker, Fr Richard has lectured on faith and culture all over the world.
“The Jesuits have been devoted servants of the parish community of North Sydney for 143 years and it is my honour to follow in that tradition. I hope we will make our own what Pope Francis has said should characterise contemporary Catholic parish life: a missionary community that ‘reaches out to everyone, without exception, particularly the poor’; that possesses great flexibility in helping people to find God, and celebrate Christ’s presence in their lives; that has good preaching, excellent liturgy and is generous in its mercy, compassion and hospitality,” Fr Leonard said. “The parish of Our Lady of Way has been my base for my other ministries for 13 years so I know what a wonderful community of lay people, religious and brother Jesuits we have, and how together we can inspire each other to be even greater disciples of Christ.”