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Updates to the Pastoral & Sacramental Care of the Parishes of Mackay Region

15 September, 2021

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

I write to bring you up to date with the clergy assisting in the parishes of Mackay.

Father Don White has been given clearance from Border Security to travel to Rome to complete the studies for a Licentiate in Moral Theology. As you will recall, early last year Father Don departed to undertake these studies. With the onset of COVID in Italy, he returned six weeks later and completed the first semester through online studies. Since mid-2020, Father Don returned to the South Mackay Cluster of Parishes and while ministering to you, completed another two semesters of studies online with incredible results. He has also assisted me as Bishop with the communications of the Catholic position of the medical moral issues which you have all been following, especially with the current issue of VAD which will go before the Queensland Parliament this week. Father Don will travel to Rome at the end of this month and will complete the Licentiate over the next nine months.

I have put into place the following arrangements from Saturday 2nd October 2021:

  • Father Alex Varghese, the Parish Priest of Walkerston, will be the Administrator of the South Mackay Cluster of Parishes and will be assisted by Father Gasper Peruvelil.
  • Father Gasper, the Associate Pastor, will reside in St Patrick’s Presbytery.
  • Fathers James and Sijo will continue to minister on the Northside and be available to assist Fathers Alex and Gasper.

From my many years of experience as a formator of priests and now a Bishop, I cannot stress enough the importance of developing priests in the various sacred ecclesial disciplines. Father Andrew Hogan will complete a Licence in Canon Law at the end of 2021, Father Andrew Chase has completed a Doctorate in Theology, Father Stephen Hanley is currently undertaking post graduate studies in Spiritual Theology and Father Don will complete his study in mid-2022. Postgraduate studies for our priests in the sacred ecclesial disciplines depths our presbyterate for the future of our diocese and the province.

I am deeply grateful to our missionary priests who assist us in realising the importance of continuing formation of our diocesan priests so that they can achieve these studies.

Please continue to pray for our priests and for future priests, especially those who will come from our own communities. I am convinced the Holy Spirit is calling our young and with your encouragement, may our young hear the call of God. May they experience your support and love so that our future generations may be introduced to the Father’s love, live as a disciple of Jesus Christ and engage in His mission. Our young need to hear from you, my dear people, words of support and witness your vibrancy in living your faith.

May the Risen Christ be with you all.


Yours sincerely,

Most Rev Michael McCarthy
Bishop of Rockhampton