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Letter from Bishop Michael

11 August, 2022
Bishop Michael with the Jubilarians

The last month I have been travelling to Confirm many of our young people in places such as Marian, Walkerston, Sarina, Mackay Southern Cluster and Capricorn Coast.  It has been wonderful to be in the communities and to share in these celebrations with the Candidates and their families.  I thank all those who put in the time to journey with our young people and their families to prepare them to receive the Sacraments of our Church.

I was able to join with the Capricorn Coast Schools for their Catholic Education Week Mass this year, and other celebrations occurred around the Diocese.  Catholic Education Week showcases the great ethos of our Catholic schools and colleges and all that the wonderful things they do day in and day out in providing a good Catholic education to your young people.  The theme for 2022, Communities of faith, hope and love, parallels St Paul where he describes love as the overarching virtue of Christianity flowing out into the life of the Christian in the practice of patience, kindness, and hope..  As I travel through the Diocese and connect with your schools and colleges in all of our communities, I stand in awe of the marvellous work of our principals, teachers and support staff as they assist our young people with their education and continue the apostolate of the religious sisters and brothers before them, the work of nurturing our young people in their faith.  My appreciation goes to Leesa Jeffcoat and her leadership of the Diocesan Catholic Education Office and our principals and staff of our schools and Colleges, and working with our Colleges of St Ursula’s and St Brendan’s under the leadership of Mrs Deborah Ryan and Mr Rob Corboy.

The annual Law Service for the Legal Fraternity in Rockhampton was held at St Joseph’s Cathedral this year.  I presided for this occasion along with Rev Scott Ballment, Presbytery Minister for the Presbytery of Central Queensland.  As part of this service all members of the Fraternity dedicated themselves to their work and practice.

The first week of August saw the Clergy from all around the Diocese join together for their annual retreat.  I thank you for giving our priests this opportunity to gather and take time out to reflect and renew themselves for their ministry.  It also provided us the opportunity to celebrate those clergy who are celebrating significant anniversaries of Presbyteral Ordination this year.  These included Fr Frank Gilbert (65 years), Bishop Brian Heenan and Fr Kevin Johnson (both 60 years), Fr Pat Mooney (50 years), Fr John Hogan (40 years), Fr Alex Varghese (30 years), Fr Shaiju Lookose and Fr Sijo George (both 15 years) and Fr Jayanthi Maddala (10 years).  The Jubilee Mass of Celebration with the community to acknowledge these milestones for our clergy was held on Friday, 5th August at the end of the retreat before clergy returned home.

Finally I was honoured to join in the celebrations of 50 years of profession for Sr Noreen Dunne, a Marist Missionary Sister who now lives and ministers in the Gladstone area.  What a wonderful example of ministry and commitment and we congratulate Sr Noreen.  We look forward to sharing further information on Sr Noreen’s ministry in next month’s newsletter.