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News from Emerald

15 February, 2022
Fr Yon with the Anakie Community

Thanks and Farewell to Fr Yon

Fr Firminus Wiryono (Fr Yon) answered the call to Priesthood on October 10th, 2015 at the age of 28. In the 5 years before joining us on the Central Highlands he ministered in Indonesia as well as Australia (namely Brisbane, Melbourne, Alice Springs and Victoria).

The day before Fr Yon arrived in Emerald, March 21st, 2020, Rockhampton, along with all Diocese throughout Australia, suspended all Masses and all but critical gatherings were permitted and limited to essential services only.

It would be a further three weeks before he would meet with office staff via Zoom, as they were now working from home. It would be a further four months before Fr Yon would meet most parishioners in person – albeit it at a distance of 1.5m.

Time was well spent during those four months of lock-down. Under the expertise of Fr Truc, the presbytery at Maguire Place was transformed from a sad garden bed of barely surviving flowers and plants to an oasis of herbs and vegetables. Many neighbours, staff and parishioners were gifted with the fruits of Fr Truc and Yon’s efforts – even if most of us didn’t know the names of or how to cook such vegetables.

Care calls became a feature of the four months of lock-down too as Frs Truc and Yon reached out to as many parishioners as possible to check on their wellbeing.

From the outset, Fr Yon has endeavored to encourage and grow faith within the youth of our community. Our three schools have welcomed Fr Yon’s enthusiasm and involvement, particularly his relatable, down-to-earth manner with the students and his love of music. We now regularly have youth participate in the 4th Sunday of the month’s mass, during the school year and his hope is that this will continue.

Fr Yon with the children of Rolleston

He should also be proud of the commencement of Men Alive last year. Along with key parishioners of our parish, Men Alive brings men together, for comradeship and to encourage them to become an active force of renewal in our parish.

Should Fr Yon seek a secondary career, he has proven himself adept at karaoke and busting out dance moves – as show cased at Emerald’s Multicultural Mass last year when he led everyone in “the Bus Stop” dance.

Fr Yon wrote, in part, on the front page of the bulletin, for his first weekend presiding at a full mass on July 19th, 2020 –

“We welcome you all back to our beautiful Church again which we closed in late March. However, with our new normal, social distancing has become part of our life. Our live-streaming masses have now stopped, and we are encouraged to come back to our mass in Church, where we can encounter Jesus and our loving community in person.”

“Let our new “normal” shape us to be more caring for one another, to be the source of healing for our wounded world caused by Covid-19, and to provide us with the opportunity to share God’s love and generosity to those in need during this time.”

Fr Yon leaves us to take up studies in Rome, as part of his mission with his order, the Society of Devine Word. We wish you every blessing Fr Yon and thank you for the two years you have shared with us. In particularly, we wish you safe travels, you will be missed, but we know there are others who now will benefit from your love and generosity of God. May the Holy Spirit keep you all the days of your life.

Thank you.

Fr Yon at the Farewell Mass with the Bartido and Yuzon families.