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Letter from Bishop Michael

20 October, 2022
After celebrating Eucharist with the Duaringa community.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

This October edition of the newsletter once again contains some of the wonderful happenings from around our Diocese. For me it has been a busy month since returning from annual leave. With visits to the Parishes of the Peak Downs and the Central Highlands.  The final confirmations for this year were held at Blackwater church with two of our young people. This rounds the total number confirmed for this year of approximately 600 young people in our Diocese.

The visiting of the various parishes brings its joys and more recently a gathering at St Kevin’s Church, Duaringa brought together many of the folks from around the district to celebrate Mass and morning tea. At the Masses at Blackwater and Duaringa I announced that Sisters Colleen and Carmel will be completing their time in the parishes in June 2024. Sister Carmel came to the Parish of Blackwater in 2005 followed by Sister Colleen in 2007. What began as a presence within the Parish of Blackwater expanded to a Mission, catechesis to the state school children, to sacramental programs, the training of readers and musicians, outreach to the various people in the country, visitation and being a wonderful religious presence within the parish community. Sisters Collen and Carmel have worked tirelessly to ensure that the community gathered each weekend to celebrate the scriptures and with the assistance of the priests from Emerald and the Cathedral to celebrate the Eucharist. We thank Sisters Carmel and Colleen during this time but also it is a time for consolidation and preparing for the transition by training the local members of the community to take over the roles they have exercised for the last two decades. I completed the weekend with the celebration of Mass at Woorabinda where Sister Cecilia looks after the community. It is always lovely to catch up with Sister Cecilia and the Woorabinda community.

The month of October has brought connections with the Regional Pastoral Councils, firstly in the Central Highlands which comprises of all the Parishes in the Central Highlands, Parishes in the Peak Downs Cluster also, Emerald, Blackwater and Springsure. The next Regional Pastoral Council to meet was the Southern Region made up of the Valleys, Bundaberg and Gladstone and finally a meeting of the Central Region Pastoral Council which consists of Capricorn Coast and the Parishes of Rockhampton. As Bishop, I like to connect with each of the Councils as they reflect on how they strategically work with each other during the year as they look forward to sharing resources and working together.

Also, during the month, I appointed Father Peter Tonti VG, the Vicar General to be the Pastor of the Parishes of Rockhampton. The past 18 months I have been working closely with the Parishes of Rockhampton and the communities gathered in each of our churches to bring together the various ministries and councils so that one effective mission can be achieved through the Parishes of Rockhampton working closely together. This has included for 2023 one sacramental program, already there is one Pastoral council for the Parishes of Rockhampton, one bereavement team, one RCIA and each of these groups are working across all of Rockhampton. I welcome Father Peter Tonti to Rockhampton, and I look forward to working closely with him as Vicar General as I really appreciate his support.

We also welcomed our priests into town during October for the priest’s in-service. As always it is great to see  our hard working priests come together as they minister all parts of the Diocese.

October also brings with it the College Awards Nights and being with our colleges and our people as they receive recognition for all their hard work. It is always a great joy to attend these ceremonies. Blessings of some of our new school and college buildings also happened during the month that had been delayed due to COVID. During the last few years there has been a lot of building works happening in our schools and colleges to position themselves for Catholic education for the future.

As we move into November it is traditionally a month we remember those who have gone before marked with a sign of faith, and we begin with All Saints Day and All Souls Day.

With best wishes to you and your families.