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News from Mackay

12 July, 2022

Farewell to Sr Margaret Graves

On Sunday 19th June during 9am Mass the parish of St Joseph’s North Mackay farewelled Sr Margaret Graves.  Sr. Margaret is a gentle woman softly spoken and doesn’t like to be the centre of attention.  She grew up in Mackay as a teenager and has taught in Catholic schools throughout the Rockhampton diocese.

Sr. Margaret has been the C.W.L. spiritual director for the past 15 years. She keeps us informed of who will be Australia’s next canonised saint and to pray for her.  She also tells us what bills are going through parliament and to write and lodge our objections to our local and state members. She has a passion for the welfare of refugees and migrants. Sister has been unwell for a couple of months and has had to face some of life’s challenges like giving up driving and leaving her current home but she is a woman of great faith and believes that God will give her the strength to overcome these.

We love her and we’ll miss her. She had been a great inspiration for C.W.L. and a wonderful ambassador for her faith, always caring for others by doing what Jesus told us to love one and other.

On behalf of Fr. Stephen Hanly and the parish, Dianne Ahmat presented Sister with a small gift as a token of our appreciation and gratitude for all she has done for this parish, may God bless her and keep her healthy we pray that we may see her from time to.

Fr. James gave her a blessing and the parishioners sang the blessing hymn.

Dianne Almat, C.W.L. President, St Joseph’s Branch

Mackay Men’s Dinner

Graham Featherstone, Father Terry Loth, and Mick Tweddle

Our dinner group met for the June dinner at the Shamrock Hotel.  Fr Terry Loth was our excellent guest speaker.

Chairman Kevin welcomed a good roll-up of members, including a welcome to another new member. There were apologies from five regular attendees.

With the reflection, due to the absence of Rex our secretary, Graham spoke briefly about this day according to the Columban calendar which mentions St Cyril who was the Patriarch of Alexandra. Another topic he spoke on was the collection for Peters Pence – just what is was.

After the meal, Fr Terry was formally introduced. Still, he didn’t need any introduction as he met everyone when he arrived, and also just about everyone knows him throughout the Diocese  He has preached in every Parish Mass centre in the Diocese. Like the Lucky Starr song,- ‘I’ve been everywhere, man ‘, it was suggested that a similar song would be easy for Fr Terry to compile with all the towns he has been to.

Fr Terry spoke about most of the places to which he had been posted.  He was ordained as a Priest in 1965 (he celebrated his 57th anniversary on Wed 29th June). His first posting was at the Cathedral. Longreach was his longest time served as an assistant Priest – he was there for 7 years.  In those days there were no bitumen roads and very limited means of communication. The primary system of transport was the railways. He spent a lot of time doing religious instructions at the schools as in those days only priests would instruct. He loved the country life, with everyone in the town knowing one another. Towns out west were safe places – no one locked their houses or took keys out of their cars.

Eventually, someone must have realized he had been a long time in Longreach and so he was transferred back closer to the coast and was posted to many places. He spoke about his time as assistant piest at Park Avenue, included in the parish were Mass centres at The Caves, Marlborough, Ogmore, St Lawrence, and Clarke Creek. There were no bitumen roads from Marlborough to St Lawrence, and whilst there were many difficulties getting to some of the places, he enjoyed catching up with all the country parishioners.

There were many stories told including returning to Longreach as the Parish Priest. He loved being in this parish, he got involved with sport and the Longreach community. Another interesting story was about the aerial ministry to towns and properties out to the border, which had been piloted by Father Justin Clare or Father Tom Martin. In due course Fr Terry got his pilot’s license and enjoyed visiting properties in his Cessna 172 aeroplane, some were like small townships with many people living there. He mentioned all the townships he regularly visited.

Fr Terry spent 13 years at Bundaberg before retiring as Parish Priest. Now we are so blessed to have him fill in relieving priests for their holidays. Fr Terry has just spent a month at each parish Longreach, Clermont, and Walkerston.

Father Terry enjoys life and preaching the gospel.

Our next dinner is on Monday 25th July from 6.30 pm for 7 pm start at the City Bowls Club.