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Clergy Appointments for 2022

16 December, 2021

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ

I write with Christmas wishes and blessings upon you and your family.

Earlier in the week, I wrote to the priests of the Diocese with the clergy appointments for 2022.

During 2021, Fathers Marcel, Thadayoose and Raj were all recalled to the HGN Society and Father Bryan retired.

Considering the availability of full-time priests for 2022, I have made the following appointments with 17 full time priests to assign across the close and far distance communities of faith of our Diocese. According to the 2016 Census there are approximately 117,800 Catholics in our Diocese; that is one priest for every 6,900 Catholics.

Parishes of the Central Region – 4 Priests assigned

2016 Census 30,000 Catholics (one priest for 7,500 Catholics)

The Capricorn Coast will be pastored by Father Andrew Hogan as Administrator while Father Matthew is away for studies in priestly formation and spirituality in the UK for 2022. Father Andrew will be completing his studies for a Licentiate in Canon Law while pastoring the parish and continues in the role of Bishop’s MC and assisting me with Canonical administration.

The Parishes of the City of Rockhampton will be ministered by a team of priests, Fathers Bill Senn, Matthias Ogwo, Jayanthi Maddala and myself, working across the six praying communities of Our Lady Help of Christians – Park Avenue, Holy Family – Rockonia, St Mary’s, St Joseph’s Cathedral, St Paul’s – Gracemere and Sacred Heart – Mount Morgan.

Central Highlands Region – 3 Priests assigned

2016 Census Central Highlands 12,600 Catholics (one priest for 4,200 Catholics)

Father Yon will undertake formational studies at the SVD centre of Nemi, Rome from the beginning of 2022 and then be reassigned to vocational work with the SVD’s. We wish Father Yon all of God’s blessings and are thankful for his priestly work among us.  Father Yon will be replaced by Father Francois Andrianihantana SVD who was ordained on 27 November 2021 in Melbourne.  Father Francois will be arriving in the Diocese mid-January. We welcome Father Francois as he settles into priestly ministry with us.

The Central Highlands will be pastored by Fathers Truc SVD and Francois SVD (Emerald and Springsure, Blackwater, and Woorabinda) and Jomon Poothara (Parishes of the Peak Downs).

Sisters Carmel Boyle and Colleen Livermore will continue their ministry with the Blackwater, Duaringa and Dingo communities, as will Sister Cecilia Prestashewsky with the Woorabinda Mission.  I thank them for their ongoing support and care for these communities.

Central West Region – 1 Priest assigned

2016 Census Central West – 2,500 Catholics (one priest for 2,500 Catholics)

Father Shaiju Lookose CMI will be pastoring in the Parishes of the Central West, supported by Miss Loretta McKeering as the Pastoral Coordinator.  I thank Loretta for the work she is doing for all the communities in the West.

 Northern Region – 4 Priests assigned

2016 Census 32,500 Catholics (one priest for 8,125 Catholics)

In the first half of 2022, the Parishes of Mackay will be pastored by Fathers Stephen Hanly, James Ezeocha, Alex Varghese and Gasper Peruvelil.

Southern Region – 5 Priests assigned

2016 Census – 31,200 Catholics

Gladstone 13,000 Catholics (one priest for 6,500 Catholics)

Bundaberg 14,800 (one priest for 7,400 Catholics)

The Valleys 3,400 (one priest for 3,400 Catholics)

The Parishes of the Southern Region are pastored by Fathers Andrew Chase and Ashwin Acharya (Gladstone), Peter Tonti and Sijo George CMI (Bundaberg), and Simeon Uchendu (The Valleys). Father Peter, as Vicar General, travels regularly to Rockhampton to assist me with Episcopal Administration.

As you can appreciate, each region is stressed for the comfortable supplying of sacramental and pastoral care.

This is where I ask that each Parish Pastoral Council and the five Regional Pastoral Councils engage in the process of strategic planning that will include how to assist the priests assigned to a region with the coordination of the pastoral and sacramental care of various parishes and regions. This may also need to take in account the times of holidays and illness of the priests and re-crafting the Mass schedule for a region. We always need to keep in mind the sacramental needs of the people.

COVID suspended bringing in priests from overseas. I have begun the process of approaching Dioceses with which our Diocese has an agreement, to assist us further with priests.  As you can appreciate, there are costs involved in the recruitment and training of priests for the Diocese.  I would ask that you be generous in assisting the Diocese in this venture.

Mr Michael Otto, our Executive Officer – Vocations, Youth & Family Life, has been discerning with possible candidates for priesthood.  I encourage you all to assist Michael in this apostolate by talking about vocations, encouraging young men in your regions and working with Michael. Michael’s work is critical and top priority. It is all our responsibility to promote and encourage vocations to the priesthood. The call doesn’t magically appear, it is through the invitation of the community and its priest.

Finally, as Bishop, in the short term, I will continue in the role of Administrator of the Cathedral while continuing with Episcopal duties around the Diocese.

With best wishes

Most Rev Michael McCarthy
Bishop of Rockhampton