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Bishop Michael’s Letter

20 March, 2024
Celebrating Fr Peter Doherty's ordination with teachers and students from Shalom College

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

I recently attended the annual meeting of the Bishops of Queensland. Each year we meet in March, in Brisbane, to discuss our common projects. We meet with the many people who work on a province level, namely the seminary, the directors of our Catholic Education Offices and the Queensland Catholic Education Director, Mr Allan Blagaich and the Honourable Margaret White who chairs the commission. We meet with many groups, including our own Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. From our Diocese Phillippa Johnson and Carol Willie joined us. Phillippa works at the Catholic Education Office and often does the Welcome to Country for our formal liturgies in the Cathedral, and connects our gathering in a profound way into the spiritual aspect of our celebration.

The month of February brought many unexpected challenges. Our schools and colleges began in seriousness their task of educating our young people and it was good to have connected with them and their teachers and support staff. Plans are underway to complete the schools of the Central West and Central Highlands and Marist College Emerald. It was also a time to spend with Leesa as we travelled together around the Diocese. Leesa announced soon after our travels that she would be completing 23 years as Director of Catholic Education at the end of 2024. I gained an invaluable insight into the work and leadership of Leesa as she has guided Catholic Education and of her incredible generosity and commitment. The Diocese has a fine leader in Leesa, and we wish her all the best. A Diocesan Mass to honour Leesa will be held on Wednesday 12 June at St Joseph’s Cathedral. Leesa will take accrued leave during the second half of the year, and it is hoped that a new director will be in place by 1 July 24.

The Bishop’s Inservice Day, I believe, went smoothly and it was a good day for all. When I first arrived in the Diocese I appreciated that at the beginning of the year I was able to connect with our schools and colleges and many of our teaching staff. I find the day to be wonderful and I was disappointed that I saw some of it from the floor of The Cathedral College (TCC) Hall and was whisked away to the Rockhampton Hospital for some repairs to two dislocated fingers. I am deeply appreciative of the incredible care received from the TCC first aid people, Shannon, Kelly and Roy and our friends Donna from Catholic Education and Shaun from my office. It was my first ride in an ambulance and I received incredible care from the paramedics and the medical staff at the hospital. Thank you everyone for your well wishes and prayers.

Some of the articles of this newsletter will include, the Year 12 Mass with the Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander students, a weekend with Couples for Christ, and the ordination of Deacon Peter Doherty to the Priesthood.

As we look to the future, it will be in the pre-Easter gathering of our priests and the principals of our schools, the Chrism Mass for the Diocese and then it is down to Easter by the end of March.

With best wishes