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Volume 52, No 1 APRIL 2017 $2.00

Bishop McKenna’s Easter Message 2017 We Celebrate Easter Every Sunday


very Sunday is a celebration of Easter. From the earliest days of the Church, Christians have gathered each week to celebrate the day when Jesus rose from the dead and what this means for us. The first Christians were Jews, who continued to observe the Sabbath, the last day of the week on which “God rested” and called his people to rest from daily cares. But they began a new observance as well: rejoicing on the first day of the week, the first day of the new covenant, when the Son of God triumphed over death to lead all who follow him to the fullness of life. We follow the only one who knows the way out of death. When Christians gather in his name, the Risen Lord is truly present. Our participation is a gift to one another, making this miracle possible. When we listen to the Word of God together, Jesus is present in another, special way, nourishing our faith and guiding our

journey to God. And when we have the great gift of a priest to lead us in the Eucharist, we experience in a unique way the dying and rising of Christ. We can eat his Body and drink his Blood and, in that communion with him and one another, become one Body: his Church. The annual celebration of Easter is the high point of the Church’s liturgical year. It is a time of joy and beauty and bigger crowds in churches. I pray that all

those who come will have their hearts touched and their faith renewed. And I pray that many will find in this moment the wisdom and courage to reassess their weekly priorities and decide to join in the celebration of Easter every Sunday. “Christ has risen from the dead and appeared to Simon Peter! Yes, he is truly risen! Alleluia!” +Michael McKenna Bishop of Bathurst

Diaconate Ordination


ishop Michael McKenna ordained Michael Williams and Joshua Clayton as deacons on 17th February, in the Cathedral of St Michael and St John.

Mike and Josh are both married men with families, who have been active members of the church for many years. The journey towards ordination to the diaconate has taken them close to seven years of formation and preparation. Josh, from Bathurst and Mike, from Wellington, now join Deacon Terry Mahony and Deacon Charles Applin, who were ordained early last year, serving God’s people of the Diocese of Bathurst.

Bishop Michael McKenna with Michael and Joshua

Around 250 guests attended the ordination with some travelling long distances, including several from overseas.

commitment, which they will carry out in concert with their commitment to the sacrament of Matrimony.

Ordination to the diaconate is for life and will put Josh and Mike in a new and permanent relationship of service to the Bishop and Christ’s faithful. Their wives, Anna and Peta, have accompanied them on this journey of discernment and formation and have given their consent for the men to make this life-changing

When asked about his role as a deacon, Mike said, “My family has always been aware of my understanding and commitment to ministry in the years as a teacher and now as a prison chaplain. A new path on life’s journey begins with ordination. God will direct my steps as he has done for most of my adult life”.

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“I hope that I will be a bridge between the church and those have lost touch with it or are seeking a relationship with God. Prison ministry has allowed me to encourage those I work with each day to perhaps explore such a relationship themselves. As a deacon, I can speak on their behalf with those who are already inside the church and encourage people to embrace the mission of the church to those who are often forgotten” Mike added. To page 3

From page 2 Josh explains what the diaconate means to him: “It fills me with so much joy to be ordained a deacon for the Diocese. For many years, Anna and I have prayed about this life changing vocation and feel at peace and joyous to now have this opportunity to serve the Diocese of Bathurst in this new way. I look forward to working with all the people of the Diocese, the priests, bishop and other deacons. I am sure the next few months will be a time of finding my feet and also discovering the great gift that the diaconate is for me and the Diocese. Please keep praying for Anna, me and our family”. Deacons directly help the Bishop in reaching out to the people of the edges of church life. These distances may be geographical or social and economic; or distances of the heart in faith and practice. They assist with works of charity, catechesis and co-ordination. Bishop McKenna said, “Now that we have four deacons belonging to our Diocese, the work of unpacking this gift and learning how to use it for our mission enters a new phase. Deacons, like bishops and priests, may join in many activities and serve in ways which could also be done by the lay faithful: but they represent in these works a particular sacramental presence at the service of ecclesial communion. It is not so much what they do, with us and for us, but who they are, with us and for us”. Deacons Charles Applin and Terry Mahony have now been ordained for a year and their work to date has included participation in the work of St Vincent de Paul, with ministry both to the poor and those who are serving the poor; pastoral ministry in nursing homes; preaching in the parishes of Oberon and Mudgee; funerals and baptisms in the parish of Oberon, as part of developing pastoral relationships there; and liturgical ministry in the Cathedral and in other appropriate places and circumstances. “Deacon Mike Williams will continue his work for the Diocese as a chaplain to Wellington Correctional Facility. As a deacon, his ministry there will be the same, but different, in ways he will discover. Mike will be available for regular participation in the Dubbo parish liturgies and develop, in cooperation with the pastoral team, pastoral and sacramental relationships (including baptisms, weddings and funerals) with parishioners who have been in the Wellington facility, or who

Bishop Michael McKenna with Joshua, Anna and their children, Patrick, Mia, Lucy and Jack have family members there. Mike will and his family will continue to reside continue to reside in Wellington, where in Bathurst, but will use the Blayney he may exercise his ministry on special Presbytery for parish gatherings and occasions”, explained Bishop McKenna. hospitality”, said Bishop McKenna. “Deacon Joshua Clayton has also been working for the Diocese, in his case as Ministries Co-ordinator. Like Mike, he will discover how his work will be the same, but different. In addition to his Co-ordinator’s role, Josh will minister to the Parish of Blayney part-time, as the Parish Administrator’s Delegate. He will participate as deacon in Sunday Mass at St James’ and develop a pastoral and sacramental role, as he begins to connect with the parish and its school. Josh

The Bishop has also established a Council of Deacons, which will meet regularly with him to reflect on our local church’s mission and how the deacons might contribute to it. We pray that God will bless the new deacons, their families and all those who have helped them on the journey to ordination. Kimbalee Clews Photos: Patrick Allen

Bishop Michael McKenna with Mike, Peta and their family: Mark, Katrina, Robert, Jennifer and baby Oliver

C a t h o l i c O B S E RV E R , T h e D i o c e s e o f B a t h u r s t • April 2017 • Page 3

The end of an era in Gulgong


fter 133 years of service in education and pastoral care in the Gulgong community, the two remaining Sisters of Saint Joseph, Sr Clare (Marie) Hopper and Sr Carmel Sheridan, have left St Joseph’s convent for the last time. Sr Clare has moved to Bathurst and Sr Carmel, to Coonabarabran. The Gulgong convent has been the oldest continuously lived in Josephite convent in the Diocese of Bathurst, apart from Perthville. Dr Marie Crowley detailed the history of the Sisters of St Joseph in Gulgong in her book “Women of the Vale”: In January 1883, four Sisters of Saint Joseph arrived in Gulgong to take charge of the denominational Catholic School in the town. Sisters de Pazzi Betts, aged 29; Bernard Eather, aged 22 and Sebastian Carden, aged 21 taught the infants and primary classes, while Sister Pius Breen, aged 19 taught music. On arrival, the sisters were met by a number of parishioners at Wilbertree, about 14.5 km from Gulgong, and escorted by horse and buggy for the rest of the journey. The sisters lived in a timber building situated behind the present convent, which was built in 1907. The convent also provided boarding accommodation for many girls from the outlying district of Dunedoo, Coolah and Goolma. Secondary classes to intermediate standard were later introduced and continued through to the 1960s. The sisters withdrew from formal involvement in the school in the 1980s but continued to live in the community offering pastoral care to the needy, sick and housebound in the

Sr Clare and Sr Carmel at the Gulgong Convent true spirit of their founder Saint Mary O’Donoghue, thanked the people MacKillop: “Never see a need without of Gulgong for their generosity and doing something about it” . friendship to the Sisters. Over all the years, when times were tough and the In the absence of Bishop McKenna, Fr Sisters lived in difficult conditions, Paul Devitt, Vicar General of Diocese the people of Gulgong supported and of Bathurst, and a former student of looked after them. Sr Mary Ellen also the Sisters in Eugowra, celebrated a noted that present at the celebration special Mass of farewell at the end of were a number of local women who January. The Mass was attended by had joined the Sisters of St Joseph, many people including Sisters of St Perthville. Remarkably, there were two Joseph, parishioners and the wider people present who were related to the communities of Goolma, Dunedoo, first Sisters who came to Gulgong. Sr Coolah, Rylstone, Kandos, Mudgee Mary Ellen presented to the Gulgong and beyond. In his homily, Fr Paul parish a beautifully framed picture of acknowledged the sadness of the Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop. Sisters leaving, but also, as we move forward to the future, ‘hope’, because Mrs Katrina Isbester, Principal of we always place out trust in God. The All Hallows School, noted that after becoming principal in 2016, her legacy of the Sisters will live on. impressions were of a beautiful school A special lunch followed at the and community, with a strong sense Gulgong RSL, attended by 150 of social justice, a tangible link to the people. In her address at the lunch, work of the Sisters for so long. She also NSW Regional Leader, Sr Mary Ellen noted when selecting individual house names for sporting teams, while Mary MacKillop was an obvious choice, the students had suggested Clare and Carmel as the other two names, ensuring Sr Clare and Sr Carmel will always be remembered. All who spoke at the lunch had the same message of love and affection and a deep sense of gratitude to all the Sisters of Saint Joseph who served the Gulgong community. The Sisters, too, were very sad to be leaving the lovely supportive community. While the Sisters have left the Convent, it will continue to be used as a meeting place for parish meetings and functions.

Sr Mary Ellen O’Donoghue with Sr Carmel and Sr Clare Page 4 • April 2017 • C a t h o l i c O B S E RV E R , T h e D i o c e s e o f B a t h u r s t

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An Evening with Christopher Hillier


enowned international baritone and Stannies’ Old Boy, Christopher Hillier, presented an evening of music and song in the Cathedral of St Michael and St John on 15th February. Close to 100 people enjoyed the beautiful performance by Chris, who was accompanied by pianist Anne Stevens. Those in attendance also enjoyed the delightful performances by MacKillop College students Sarah Walls, on violin and Brianna Adams, on flute. Originally from Orange, Christopher generously offered his time for the evening as a fundraiser for the Cathedral Restoration Appeal and as a chance to assist local students to gain experience performing with a baritone with international credits to his name. More than $2,000 was raised for the appeal. Mr Paul Hughes, from MacKillop College and one of Christopher’s past teachers, hosted the evening which was described as was a rare treat for music lovers of all kinds. Christopher preformed songs from

Christopher Hillier famous operas such as the “Toreador Song” from Carmen by Bizet, as well as some favourites from musical theatre. The highlight for many was the “Lord’s Prayer”, while the encore performance of “Jerusalem” was simply breathtaking. 

The Cathedral Restoration Appeal Management Committee sincerely thank Mr Hillier and his accompanying musicians for providing their time and talent for this evening’s performance. Kimbalee Clews

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Secretaries farewell their colleagues


he parish secretaries met in Orange recently for a luncheon to farewell three of their valued colleagues: Hedy Viney of Blayney who is retiring after 30 years of service to the St James Parish, Trish Ryan of Orange who is retiring after 10 years of service and Marie Morrison from Lithgow, who has returned to her former profession as a secondary maths teacher, taking up a position at La Salle Academy. The ladies also welcomed Joanne Connor and Judi Knight,  who have joined the Lithgow office. In conversation over lunch, the secretaries realised that between them, they have worked in their roles, a total of over 240 years, noting they have been privileged to work for the Diocese in such unique positions, supporting the priests and their individual parishes.

The parish secretaries from the Diocese of Bathurst One of ladies leaving commented that has developed amongst the how she will miss being a parish group. “My thoughts and prayers secretary because it was like being for you all is to do your best under part of a family, how she had felt the all circumstances, and above all else love and support of her colleagues take time for yourselves, don’t stress and how blest we are to have each unnecessarily and keep well”. other. Another of the ladies spoke of the great relationship and support Pauline Pollard

St Mary’s, Mudgee suffers storm damage


n 18th January 2017, Mudgee was hit by a devastating storm with winds up to 130km per hour and graded a Category 2 cyclone in just a few minutes, causing extensive damage to the town. St Mary’s did not escape unscathed, with many trees losing limbs. The Church lost its ridge capping and many Bangor Welsh slate tiles were torn off the roof. These tiles were imbedded in the ground and several ended up on the street, damaging cars parked nearby, and it was a miracle no one was hurt. With the tiles gone, the interior of the Church was exposed to the ensuing rain. With the quick response of builder Martin Milton, who ensured we had a cherry picker to make temporary repairs on the roof, we were able to prevent further

damage to the interior. We gratefully acknowledge the people who cleared our yard and cleaned the Church as well. The parish office (former Convent of Mercy) also sustained minor damage to the roof. It would appear that one side of the Church’s roof will have to be replaced as there are still many loose tiles. St Matthews Catholic School also sustained damage to its buildings and playground covers. Jenny Maloney Page 6 • April 2017 • C a t h o l i c O B S E RV E R , T h e D i o c e s e o f B a t h u r s t

Dinia’s story - Love Thy Neighbour


ith the support of Caritas Australia, women like Dinia are overcoming the challenges of poverty in the Philippines. Pregnant with her fifth child when her husband died unexpectedly, Dinia lost not just her partner, but the financial security his job at the mines brought. She was in a very vulnerable position. In 2011, Caritas Australia’s partner, the Socio Pastoral Action Centre Foundation Inc. (SPACFI) began working with Dinia and since then she has been able to develop a sustainable income through a Caritas supported livelihoods program that helps both her and her neighbours. “I have a feeling of contentment, being able to help others,” Dinia says.Widespread poverty in the Philippines means that more than a quarter of the population live below the poverty line of $1.90 a day, with around 10 million of the poorest being women, women like Dinia. Widespread poverty in the Philippines means that more than a quarter of the population live below the poverty line of $1.90 a day, and around 10 million of the poorest are women like Dinia. But Dinia is strong, talented and resourceful. She has an aptitude for farming and is a clever businesswoman who makes and sells cassava chips and exchanges animals with her neighbours. In 2011, Caritas Australia’s partner, the Socio Pastoral Action Centre Foundation Inc. (SPACFI), began working with Dinia and since then she has been able to develop a sustainable income through an innovative livelihoods program that helps both her and her neighbours. In her village in the Philippines, Dinia has become a powerful force. As a member of her local People’s Organisation, she is learning how to create a sustainable income for her family and encouraging her neighbours to do the same.

Dinia harvesting rice with the help of her family and neighbours. Photo credit: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia

Your support has enabled Dinia to learn key skills that allow her to be self-sufficient, including composting to create natural fertilisers and other gardening techniques that improve the crop yield she receives from her rice field. Dinia also took part in training on how to raise pigs for income, and now shares piglets with neighbours through SPACFI’s Hog Dispersal Program. “The distribution of pigs is a system of sharing. The program provides you with a pig as long as you are able to raise piglets and pass two of them to others,” Dinia says. Dinia’s journey of healing has ended with an integral role in her community, a sustainable livelihood, and a brighter future for her children. To donate to Project Compassion, or for fundraising ideas, visit or call 1800 024 413.

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C a t h o l i c O B S E RV E R , T h e D i o c e s e o f B a t h u r s t • April 2017 • Page 7

Inspiring and immersive mission conference to hit Sydney in 2017


t has been called “an inspiring experience of the breadth and scope of Catholic Church mission services and activities…” and now the Mission: one heart many voices conference is returning to Sydney in 2017. Archbishop of Brisbane Mark Coleridge, Professors Elaine Wainwright rsm and Larissa Behrendt, and Father Frank Brennan SJ AO are just some of the names slated to appear at Australia’s leading conference on mission, to be held at the SMC Conference Centre from May 15th-17th. Included in the jam-packed three-day program are six keynote addresses, five masterclasses, 35 workshops and seminars and ten interactive experiences that creatively engage the heart in mission through the arts. Bishop of Parramatta, Vincent Long van Nguyen, will give the keynote address at the conference breakfast on day two. Bishop Long’s journey from asylum

Bishop Vincent Long van Nguyen

seeker to church leader is inspiring and rings true for the conference’s themes, which include diversity and hope for the future. Peter Gates, the Deputy National Director of Catholic Mission, which is co-hosting the conference, says the event intends to set a strong example for participants. “The conference attempts to model moments of mission for all so to inspire moments of mission by all”, he said.

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A detailed program for the multisector conference is available on the website, and Mr Gates says the content will enable participants to discover ways to engage with mission in their work and lives. “The program’s specialised talks and workshops will allow participants to explore areas of theory and practice of mission and evangelisation,” he said. “The content will be comprehensive and inclusive, with topics covering social services, education, faith formation, leadership for mission, migrants and refugees and ecology, among many others”. The 2017 Mission: one heart many voices conference is organised jointly by Catholic Mission and Catholic Religious Australia. To learn more about the conference, or to register, visit, or phone 1800 257 296.

A multi-sector dialogue on living the joy of the Gospel and leading mission

If you strive creatively for justice, peace, reconciliation and God’s mission of mercy in Australia and globally, please join us for the Mission: one heart many voices conference in May 2017. It is a unique opportunity to listen, converse and experience the many and diverse voices that are an expression of the one heart of mission. Above all, the conference purpose is to affirm, inspire, nurture and imagine. It wil enable participants to ‘go forth boldly’ (EG 261) living the joy of the Gospel and leading mission. Conference Organisers:

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Hometown celebrations for Thao and Diep


n January, Bishop McKenna undertook a pastoral visit to Vietnam; a chance for him to meet with the families of the men studying for the priesthood for our Diocese. Two of our seminarians, Thao Van Nguyen and Diep Quang Nguyen, were in Vietnam on leave at the time and accompanied the Bishop on his journeys. While there, Bishop McKenna took

the opportunity to admit Thao and Diep to the Ministry of Acolyte. On the long journey of discernment and formation before ordination, seminarians make three important steps: Ministry of Lector, Ministry of Acolyte and the Admission to Candidacy. Thao was admitted at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Ru Dat, on 24th January; then on 26th January, Diep at Our Lady of Rosary Church, Trang

Bishop Michael with Thao and his family

Nua. Bishop McKenna asked the two parish communities to pray that Thao and Diep would receive the wisdom and courage to understand and follow God’s will. Both men said they felt very blessed that the Bishop made it possible for them to celebrate these special occasions in their hometowns, with their family and friends. Fiona Lewis

Diep at his institution as Acolyte

C a t h o l i c O B S E RV E R , T h e D i o c e s e o f B a t h u r s t • April 2017 • Page 9

Helen recognised at 2016 celebration of SRE


ecently, more than 500 SRE teachers, heads of faiths and Parliamentarians gathered at NSW Parliament House to celebrate the work of Special Religious Education (SRE/Scripture) in public schools. Seventeen SRE teachers from Greek Orthodox, Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, Jewish and Baha’i faiths, together with a school principal and deputy, were recognised for their contribution to SRE in their various communities. We were proud to have Ms Helen Ryan, Director of CCD for the Catholic Diocese of Bathurst, and Mr Michael Tebbutt, Regional Co-ordinator for the CCD, Diocese of Broken Bay, recognised for their contribution to SRE. Both Helen and Michael have given a lifetime’s contribution to the work of CCD and ICCOREIS (Inter Church Commission on Religious Education in Schools) in country and urban regions, providing training across and beyond their own dioceses. Over many years, Helen has travelled great distances to visit, support and encourage catechists in her rural region and she introduced the Student Catechist Helper program. Michael has successfully co-ordinated negotiations with primary and secondary schools regarding SRE provision, taking into account the

Helen Ryan with the Minister for Education, The Hon Adrian Piccoli, MP needs of all providers. He models and encourages collaborative co-operation. The celebration took place with 28 parliamentarians in the audience and with both the Minister for Education, The Hon Adrian Piccoli, MP, and Shadow Minister, The Hon Jihad Dib, MP, speaking about the huge contribution of SRE to school communities across the State; highlighting the impact of multi-faith input and cultural diversity for school communities. Both Ministers spoke of their own participation in SRE in their school days.

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The celebration of SRE had a distinctive multi-faith approach reflecting the diversity of the providers of SRE who enter the public school gates together each week. It is a fitting acknowledgement for all those who teach SRE and a very special day for our recipients of these awards in 2016. Paul Worthington Special Projects Co-ordinator CCD Sydney

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The Cathedral Bells: A history of praising God and calling the people


hen the restored bells of the Cathedral of St Michael and St John rang out in December 2015, the event heralded a new chapter in the history of the Diocese of Bathurst and continued a long tradition associated with the Cathedral and the sound of bells that is synonymous with Bathurst. The first Catholic bell was gifted to the St Michael’s Church in 1853 by an unknown lady and gentleman who resided elsewhere in the colony. The bell hung in a wooden tower at the back of the church in Keppel Street. At that time, some of the clergy were keen to have church bells cast in Ireland, to avoid English made bells being imposed on ardent patriotic Irishmen. So the bell was cast by Mr John Murphy of Dublin and was ornamented with the Irish harp and crown encircled with a wreath of shamrocks. The bell could be heard for several miles in the countryside until it was damaged. In 1859, Dean Grant announced that a new bell was on its way and the old one was to be repaired. But the 1853 bell seems to have disappeared from our history. Among the many generous donors to the new building was a benefactor named Maria Blanchfield, who was married to Thomas Dudley Jones. Thomas had rendered distinguished service in the capture of convicts turned bushrangers and in 1834, he was the Chief Constable. The new bell was cast in 1858 and bears the name of the donor. There are also Latin inscriptions in raised mediaeval church text translating to: I praise God, I call the people, I mourn the dead, I chase away demons and I adorn a feast. A second bell was cast in 1861 with the Latin inscription Let my tongue speak the Lord’s praise. These are the two bells currently in the Cathedral tower. According to family history, an earlier set of bells donated by Maria was lost when the ‘Dunbar’ sank in 1857. Maria also donated a window to the Cathedral and her generosity was recognised by Archbishop Polding, who gave her a picture of

the Sacred Heart in a gold case. In September 1860, an accident occurred in the newly built bell tower. In order to place the bell in position, it had been found necessary to set it in full motion and whilst doing this, the rope coiled itself round the neck of one of the workmen and drew him up to the roof of the chamber. Fortunately, his companions relaxed their hold and he fell heavily, escaping with only a few bruises. The St Michael and St John Church, sometimes referred to as “The Pride of the West”, was completed in April 1861. The purpose of the bells was described perfectly by the inscriptions. They rang joyfully for services and called people to worship. In 1881, the peals of the Angelus bell sounded morning and night and reminded people of the simple and heartfelt devotion. Happily, 135 years later, the Angelus bell is ringing again. The bells communicated news of death. When Dean Grant died, the solemn tolling of the death bell commenced at 3am. When Bishop Quinn died in 1885, it tolled all night in a muffled monotone. An unusual event occurred in 1906 when the niece of Maria Blanchfield Jones was buried at Long Swamp cemetery

near Trunkey Creek. The bell at the Cathedral tolled in her memory at the same time the funeral was held many miles away. The bells also rang on many happy occasions. In 1918, they proclaimed the end of the Great War. It was a night of excitement in Bathurst with the Cathedral bells joining those of All Saints and the Fire Brigade, along with the many whistles from steam engines at the railway yard. In an article dated 1920, The National Advocate mentioned that one of the bells was cracked. It was proposed to have the damaged bell repaired. Nearly 100 years later, both bells were returned to the Whitechapel foundry in London for repairs. In 1858, another famous bell was cast at this foundry at the same time as the Blanchfield bell - Big Ben! It too cracked from being struck incorrectly. In 1860, the elegant character of the Cathedral was becoming evident. Credit was conferred on both architect and the builders responsible for carrying out the work. In 2016, tradesmen are preserving the building and ably restoring our Cathedral to its former grandeur. May the bells ring out another message: Deo Gratias! Kathleen Bellamy

C a t h o l i c O B S E RV E R , T h e D i o c e s e o f B a t h u r s t • April 2017 • Page 11

Catholic bishops invite young people to the Year of Youth 2018


he Catholic Bishops of Australia invite Catholics across the country to join in celebrating a Year of Youth from the beginning of Advent 2017 to the end of 2018. The Year of Youth celebrates ten years since World Youth Day was hosted in Sydney during 2008. It will focus on the theme, ‘Open New Horizons for Spreading Joy: Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment’. The emphasis is on local discussion and dialogue in parishes, schools, youth groups and dioceses. Delivering the invitation, Archbishop Denis Hart, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, said, “In 2018, we want to engage with youth in new ways and they with us, helping young people to encounter God in Jesus Christ and his Church. Open your hearts to the life God intends for you and so make a real difference in the world”. On behalf of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Hart said, “As Bishops we invite you, the youth of Australia, to open your hearts to Christ. You are deeply loved by Jesus and the Church. We appreciate your gifts and contributions, and we want to journey with you”.  “Young people have a great capacity to address injustice and create new opportunities for joy and hope. Today, many young people want to serve, and others are willing to take a chance to make the world a better place. Leaders and older members of

Eliza Biddle with Bishop Michael and one of the hosts from World Youth Day 2016, Poland

the Church must continue to listen to and benefit from the many graces of youth, supporting them to discern their vocation and identify their call in the world, within communities where they are safe, nurtured and respected”, Archbishop Hart added. The Year of Youth will be part of a journey of dialogue and discernment as the church in Australia contributes to the next Synod of Bishops in Rome during 2018, with its focus on ‘Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment’ and as preparations commence to host a Plenary Council in Australia during 2020.

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Twelve months out from the Year of Youth, Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, Australian Catholic Bishops Delegate for Youth, said, “To launch the Year of Youth, I invite young people across the country to the Australian Catholic Youth Festival, 7th-9th December 2017 in Sydney. The Festival will bring your peers and church leaders together to celebrate the young church of Australia”. Information about the Year of Youth is available on the official website, Source: Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

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Page 12 • April 2017 • C a t h o l i c O B S E RV E R , T h e D i o c e s e o f B a t h u r s t

Project Compassion launched in our Diocese


he Diocesan launch of Project Compassion was hosted by the Cathedral Primary School, Bathurst at a special assembly on Monday 6th March, to coincide with the beginning of Catholic Schools Week.

community members in prayer to begin the launch. This was followed by a presentation about the work of Caritas and an introduction to a selection of different communities, within and outside Australia, that benefit from the work of Caritas.

Bishop Michael McKenna led the assembly of school, parent and parish

Special guest at the launch was Sr Anne Maguire rsm, Head of Mission for Caritas, who spoke about the work of Caritas and the vital assistance given by funds raised from Project Compassion. Sr Anne talked about the heartbeat of the world which links us all together.  “Love of our neighbour is the heartbeat of Christian living!” said Sr Anne. “The generosity and support for Project Compassion shown by the people of the Catholic Diocese of Bathurst is an inspiration to those of us who work in Caritas Australia. On behalf of those we serve around the world - thank you”. Students and teachers from MacKillop College, St Stanislaus’ College, Assumption School and Holy Family School attended the launch.

Bishop Michael and Sr Anne with the Holy Family School leaders

Many thanks to Sr Anne for being our special guest, the Cathedral

Patrick Allen, Principal of Cathedral School and Sr Anne with Cathedral School leaders

Primary School for hosting the event and to the other schools who were able to attend. For more information about Project Compassion, visit ZduqS0 Kimbalee Clews

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C a t h o l i c O B S E RV E R , T h e D i o c e s e o f B a t h u r s t • April 2017 • Page 13

Sister Anne Houston - 50 years service


ithgow’s very own Sister of St Joseph, Sister Anne Houston, has reached an important milestone, her 50 Year Golden Jubilee of Religious Order. Sr Anne’s life of selfless giving and serving the Lithgow community, was well recognised with a special Mass at St Patrick’s. The Mass was concelebrated by parish priests with whom Sr Anne has previously worked including Fathers Mark McGuigan, Garry McKeown, Greg Bellamy, Owen Gibbons, Greg Kennedy and Martin O’Mahony. Sr Anne’s ministry has included visiting the sick and elderly who can’t attend Mass, morning breakfast tuckshop at La Salle Academy for many years, organising catechists for scripture in state schools, daily visits to St Patrick’s Primary School, preparing for Mass at four nursing homes, as well as many other duties in between. Sr Anne, a very humble woman, said “it was lovely to be honoured in this way and have my past parish priests attend”. She said it was actually 53 years, but three years were in training; as she explained it, “a bit like being engaged for the first three years, then the wedding anniversary is for the 50 years”. Congratulations Sister Anne! May God continue to bless you and keep you in His tender, loving care. Jo Connor

Fr Mark, Fr Martin, Fr Greg Bellamy, Sr Anne, Fr Owen, Fr Greg Kennedy and Fr Garry

Clergy changes


rom January 2017, Father Tim Cahill, became a resident member of the Shalom House of Prayer community in Carcoar. He will provide Mass at Carcoar, Mandurama and Trunkey Creek on a regular basis and other places as required by the Bishop. Father Paul Devitt has been appointed as Administrator of the Parish of Blayney. He and the Cathedral priests now provide Mass, sacraments and other pastoral care in Blayney. For the time being, the Eucharistic community of Millthorpe is being served from Orange. Deacon Josh Clayton, has been appointed as the Administrator’s Delegate in Blayney, to help co-ordinate the works of the many dedicated volunteers. Bishop McKenna said: “These are bold

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steps for all concerned and we seek the wisdom and strength of God in carrying them out”. Following consultation with the Clergy Appointments Board, Bishop Michael McKenna also made the following appointments, effective 21st January 2017: • Parish Priest of Lithgow and Portland - Reverend Garry McKeown; • Parish Priest of Orange and Molong Reverend Gregory Bellamy; • Assistant Priest of Orange and Molong - Reverend Pius Khaoya. Bishop McKenna has expressed his gratitude to these priests for their willingness to serve in this way and asks God’s blessing on them and the people of these parishes. Kimbalee Clews

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First DCEC meeting for 2017


embers of the Diocesan Catholic Education Council (DCEC) gathered for their term one meeting at St John’s Primary School, Dubbo on 21st February 2017. Two of the Council’s four meetings each year are hosted by one of our diocesan schools and it was a pleasure to enjoy the warm welcome and hospitality extended to us by the St John’s Primary School community. The meeting provided the opportunity for Principal, Mr Anthony O’Leary, to discuss with the members of the Council, the positive impact the Professional Learning Communities model is having on student learning and collaborative teacher practice. This presentation was very well received by the Council. As a key advisory body to Bishop Michael McKenna, the DCEC discusses a range of items at each meeting, with a meeting summary being published on the Diocesan website. Among some important items discussed during this first meeting of the year were the outstanding diocesan 2016 HSC results, activity in regard to two crucial areas within the Catholic Education Office Annual Plan, and the recently released discussion paper from Bishop Michael regarding the Sacrament of Confirmation.

Mr Paul Crennan, DCEC Chair


Mr Paul Crennan Chair, Diocesan Catholic Education Council Mrs Jenny Allen Executive Director of Schools

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C a t h o l i c O B S E RV E R , T h e D i o c e s e o f B a t h u r s t • April 2017 • Page 15

MacKillop College celebrates 50 years!


elebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Diocesan Catholic Girls’ High School (now MacKillop College) were held during the last weekend of February, beginning with the annual Twilight Fete on Friday night. Always an exciting event, the fete is a major fundraiser for the College, and was well attended and supported. The fun continued on Saturday night, with an Anniversary Ball held at the Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre. Over 200 ex-students, current and former staff and other friends of MacKillop, enjoyed an evening of camaraderie, fine food and dancing. The doors of the College were opened on College Birthday cake – Mr Paul McPhillamy, Acting Assistant Principal; Sunday to an endless procession of former Casey Mutton, Vice Captain; Mrs Gina Whelan, Acting Principal staff and ex-students accompanied by their and Lucy Nolan, Vice Captain families. The corridors were filled with laughter and memories as the visitors relived their days at Dio and/or MacKillop. They were also extremely impressed with the new facilities and the overall comments reflected how much the School had changed. On Monday, the current students of the College had their turn. They arrived at school and stepped back in time to 1967 and what a sea of colour and fashion greeted the College staff as we welcomed them to an exciting day of activities. It was another resoundingly successful event for the College community who gathered to celebrate with a fashion parade of outfits and outdated school uniforms. The special assembly gave all present an opportunity to hear about the history of the Diocesan Catholic Girls High School (Dio) from those who were there when it all began. We are fortunate to have so many women who have such fond memories of their school days.

Some “cool” staff members

The hidden talents of our fabulous staff also entertained those present. The sense of excitement and community involvement was evident in students, ex students, parents and staff alike. The day culminated with a picnic lunch and afternoon activities attended by ex-students and former staff. Members of our Junior Council were very busy on the Back to ’67 Day, holding a Bushfire Appeal which involved a sausage sizzle and cupcake extravaganza, which raised approximately $1,000 for the Coolah/Dunedoo Bushfire Appeal. An absolutely fabulous and very memorable day was had by all. Melinda Mills and Ann Walton Y7 students Audrey Johns, Millie O’Shea, Sophie Felch and Cleo Cheney Page 16 • April 2017 • C a t h o l i c O B S E RV E R , T h e D i o c e s e o f B a t h u r s t

Former staff and students

1960s fun

Bishop Michael with Gina Whelan, Acting Principal, at the fete

Current MKC staff C a t h o l i c O B S E RV E R , T h e D i o c e s e o f B a t h u r s t • April 2017 • Page 17

From the Executive Director of Education


atholic Schools: Great Learning, Great Communities… … is the 2017 theme for Catholic Schools Week, 5th-11th March. This is a most appropriate theme for schools within our Diocese because it captures, in a nutshell, the defining attributes of our schools. I am writing this article following my visit today to two of our school communities recently impacted upon by bushfires. In times of crisis and tragedy, the community dimension of our schools easily comes to the fore. This, of course, occurs because it is an ever present characteristic of our schools. In this same week I have also become aware of the proactive community response in another of our schools to the news that one of their students is critically ill. If great communities are characterised by concern and support for the wellbeing of each person, positive collaborative action in support of the community’s vision and values, and a mindset of both inclusion and outreach, each of our schools could provide evidence in abundance of such characteristics. Great learning is at the heart of the daily dynamic within our school communities. Each of our schools is striving to facilitate great learning by fully embedding the various elements within the Professional Learning Communities model. Teachers in our schools are shifting their focus from simply ensuring that our students are taught, to ensuring that students learn and experience continual growth in their learning. We are seeing the impact of their work in the very strong NAPLAN results and in our 2016 HSC results, which were the best results achieved by our schools to date. An increase of 68 Band 6 results on the 2015 figures gives an indication of these outstanding results. To highlight the great learning and teaching practices that are occurring in our schools, this year we are holding for the

first time a Teaching & Learning Conference in July. Teachers and school leaders will run a series of workshops to share the specific practices which are making a direct impact on student learning/teacher practice. For example, staff from St Mary’s, Wellington will explain how the changes made to some physical learning spaces are impacting on student outcomes. St Matthews, Mudgee will outline the impact of the ELEVATE Program on enhancing student engagement, and staff from St Joseph’s, Manildra will unpack the impact that their Personalised Student Folders are having on staff and parents’ ability to track a child’s learning growth from Kindergarten to Y6. Catholic Schools: Great Learning, Great Communities really does say it all in regard to our schools and, as we commence another year, I feel privileged to serve and support our school communities. Our own theme for 2017 is Encounter, Achieve, Flourish. With our focus on Christ centred learning and leadership, may all in our school communities this year deepen their encounter with Jesus and in doing so, flourish and achieve their goals and potential. Jenny Allen Executive Director of Schools

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2016 HSC results fly high


n 2016, 462 students studied for the HSC at one of the Catholic secondary schools in the Diocese. HSC courses were offered in 54 subjects and included vocational as well as academic courses, providing students with a full range of options. This included the first cohort of HSC students from St Matthews Catholic School, Mudgee. The highest ATAR in the Diocese was 99.90 and students achieved a total of 189 Band 6 results, a remarkable increase on last year’s result and the best ever diocesan result.

Three students, Portia Gooch and Abbey Sissian from St Johns College, Dubbo and Claudia Dean from James Sheahan Catholic High School, Orange were named as All-Round Achievers for scoring 10 units of Band 6 results. Three students were placed in the NSW top ranking student lists: Joshua Fahy - James Sheahan Catholic High School, Orange placed 12th in Ancient History; Rani Balak - MacKillop College, Bathurst placed 16th in English (Standard); and Portia Gooch - St John’s College, Dubbo placed 9th in Modern History. Thirty-two students achieved Band 6 scores in Studies of Religion across the five schools. All students sitting for the HSC in diocesan schools studied for either Studies of Religion 1 Unit or 2 Unit, or a school developed Catholic Studies course.

Samantha Conte accepting her VET Student of the Year Award from Fr Paul Devitt

Congratulations to all students who achieved at least one Band 6 result. These students and their families were invited to attend the Diocesan HSC Awards Ceremony, which provided recognition for academic excellence in the Higher School Certificate in 2016. The ceremony, was held 1st February 2017 at the Orange Civic Theatre. Special Awards were given to the following students: •

The CDF Scholarship for Highest Diocesan ATAR: Portia Gooch 99.90, St John’s College, Dubbo

Studies of Religion I Highest Diocesan Mark 2016: Joseph Miller 49/50, James Sheahan Catholic High School, Orange

Studies of Religion II Highest Diocesan Mark 2016: Portia Gooch 96/100, St John’s College Dubbo; Caleb Hewitt 96/100, James Sheahan Catholic High School, Orange

VET Student of the Year: Samantha Conte, St John’s College, Dubbo

Indigenous Student of the Year: Olivia Cargill, James Sheahan Catholic High School, Orange Peta Kingham

Olivia Cargill accepting her Indigenous Student of the Year Award from Fr Paul Devitt

Page 20 • April 2017 • C a t h o l i c O B S E RV E R , T h e D i o c e s e o f B a t h u r s t

Youth Ministers join the team


017 has seen the continued growth of ministry to youth in our Diocese and schools. This year, four youth ministers have been employed in the Diocese to work in schools, as a way of engaging students and assisting schools in their ministry. The four youth ministers are based in St Matthews, Mudgee; James Sheahan Catholic High School, Orange; MacKillop College, Bathurst and St John’s College, Dubbo. Their main role is assisting with the implementation of the Catholic Schools Youth Ministry Australia (CSYMA) program across the schools and helping teachers and Religious Education Coordinator’s with school retreats, liturgies and outreach to the community.  

The new roles aim to enable young people from our schools to see opportunities of expressing their faith and ministering to others in practical and effective ways that they may not have been open to, or even aware of. It is wonderful to see the opportunities the new roles will open up for engaging young people in their faith and the wider parish community. Deacon Joshua Clayton

Our newly appointed youth ministers Gus McPhail, SJC; Daniel Salomoni, St Matthews and Dearne Giddes, MKC were amongst those who attended the 2017 CSYMA Equipping School. Not pictured: Mitch Winslade, JSCHS

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Sacred Heart is back in action


oolah: The staff and students of Sacred Heart Primary School, Coolah were back in action a week after devastating fires ravaged their community. The short and longterm impact on the physical landscape and the emotional and psychological impact on the community cannot be underestimated. The staff, students and families of Sacred Heart are doing their best to support each other and work through this difficult period as best they can. They have been heartened by the support, thoughts and prayers of the schools and communities across our Diocese. Janine Kearney

The Principal, Mr Quade; his right hand, Mrs Baldwin; the School Captain for 2017, Sam Baker and Sports Captain, Lucy Arnott

The ‘new look’ St Phil’s staff


athurst: The staffroom at St Phil’s Primary School, Bathurst appears to have undergone a transformation this term, with a much more youthful bunch of teachers than in the past. The problem was sorted with a quick chat to ‘the teachers concerned’ who advised that it was ‘Spelling Mastery’ time! They were, in fact students, with the staff room becoming a classroom to allow for all groups to have their own space to work in during this period. This was followed by ‘Reading Mastery’, where a different group would take over the teachers’ hallowed ground. By the looks on their faces, this particular bunch seemed to relish the idea. Janine Kearney

The ‘Staff Room’ Spelling Mastery Students

Manildra reflects


anildra: At the end of last term, the staff and extended community of St Joseph’s, Manildra joined together for a day to ‘Reflect, Relax and Renew’ at the historic St Joseph’s Convent and School at Borenore (1875-1963). The day was very ably facilitated by the Principal, Mr Josh Dunn. The venue proved to be the perfect setting and the catering the perfect complement to a day beyond ‘The Busy’. Janine Kearney

Mrs Gosper letting her light shine

Page 22 • April 2017 • C a t h o l i c O B S E RV E R , T h e D i o c e s e o f B a t h u r s t

Ray Collins retires


t was an honour and a privilege to travel to Newcastle at the end of 2016 to pay tribute to Mr Ray Collins on his retirement. Ray retires not only as Director of Schools for Newcastle-Maitland, but from 61 years of continuous involvement in school education. From many of the amazing accolades, two things stood out for us, the reference to ‘the role and the soul’, and his love for Western NSW. Ray’s perfect combination of ‘role and soul’ was evident with every school in the Diocese of NewcastleMaitland being present, but it was also how Ray ‘played it’ as a school and system leader in our own Diocese during his time here... ‘our Ray of sunshine’. Ray’s family and brothers were also in attendance as well as Annette’s sister, Betty from Coonamble and Glen and Sue Roff, who were strongly connected to our Diocese back in ‘the day of Ray’.

Ray and Annette, children Joseph, Clare, Thomas, Rebecca and their families and Annette’s sister, Betty

We’re looking forward to seeing more of the Collins partnership in the northern kingdom now that Ray has become a domestic advisor and ‘thumb-twiddler’. Janine Kearney

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Sesquicentenary celebrations at Stannies’


athurst: In November 1866, Bishop Matthew Quinn was warmly welcomed into Bathurst as the first Bishop of the new Catholic Diocese. Less than two months later, in January 1867, he established St Stanislaus’ College with an enrolment of day students and boarding students who were housed in George Street. Six years later, the College moved to its present site, where the first building had already been completed. In 1889, the first Vincentians arrived and assumed responsibility for the College, a responsibility they have carried ever since.

Indonesian Catholic High School visit


n mid-February, St Stanislaus’ College welcomed 18 students; Principal, Indah Noor Aini; Deputy Principal, Yustinus Hari Suyanto and Fr Rudy Sulistijo CM, Vincentian Priest, to the College from St Louis Catholic High School, Surrabaya, Indonesia. The visitors specifically asked to time their visit so they could join the College community for its Sesquicentenary celebrations on 19th February.

A very full program was planned for the guests including a day in the classroom with Stannies students, a visit to Taronga Western Plains Zoo, a tour of CSU and two days in the Blue Mountains, with their last few days spent in Sydney.

In 2017, St Stanislaus’ celebrates its Sesquicentenary. Head of College, Dr Anne Wenham said, “This is a time to reflect on the past, celebrate the present and plan for our future. Our students are blessed with the gift of Catholic education and in 2017, along with their families and our staff, they contribute to our history in a very special way”.

A day in the classroom at Stannies

Sesquicentenary Mass at Stannies’ PAC The College celebrated the opening of the school year with a Sesquicentenary Mass and Family Day on Sunday 19th February. Mass was celebrated by Bishop Michael McKenna in the Performing Arts Centre (PAC). Newly ordained Deacon and Stannies’ Old Boy, Joshua Clayton, assisted Bishop Michael. The College has established an historical display that is open to all members of the College and wider community throughout 2017.

The students were given a special welcome after the Sesquicentenary Family Day Mass, when they performed two dances. They attended a College Farewell Assembly on 21st February. The College is sincerely grateful to the Stannies families who hosted the student visitors and to Fr Greg Walsh CM and Fr Peter Reedy CM for hosting the three staff. Many student friendships were formed and they certainly gained insights into each other’s culture, schooling and home life!

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Page 24 • April 2017 • C a t h o l i c O B S E RV E R , T h e D i o c e s e o f B a t h u r s t

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Swimming champs and football greats at St Raphael’s


owra: A great way to cool off in Cowra’s heat is to spend time at the local pool. St Raphael’s Swimming Carnival gave participants plenty of opportunity to cool down and enjoy some vigorous competition recently. There was a good mix of events with championship races for all age groups, as well as a great array of novelties for all to have a go. This year’s winning house was Raphael. Many thanks to Miss Isedale, the chief organiser and our many volunteer helpers for supporting such a fun event. In late February, St Raphael’s students were lucky enough to enjoy some coaching tips from Rugby League greats who were riding through Cowra on their Harley Davidsons. The football legends shared the message about youth homelessness on behalf of Fr Chris Riley and his Youth off the Streets Foundation.

Students participating in some of the novelty events

Horizons program at St Raphael’s


he Horizons Program is an initiative that began in 2016 and aims to create opportunities for our students to encounter people who, by their own life story, broaden the horizons of our students.

St Raph’s students with the Rugby League legends

We have been fortunate to welcome ex-student Dr Amber Beavis, a research assistant to Australia’s Chief Scientist, and Michael Brissenden, ABC foreign correpondent. Recently, eight Y12 students were invited to attend a Women’s Graduate Dinner where another ex-student, Dr Rachael Diprose, was the guest speaker. Rachael’s message to our young women was to make the most of opportunities which come their way and to be open to change. Susan Whiteley

Y12 students with Mrs Sue Whiteley at the Women’s Graduate Dinner

C a t h o l i c O B S E RV E R , T h e D i o c e s e o f B a t h u r s t • April 2017 • Page 25

St Matthews first Y12 HSC success


UDGEE: The community of St Matthews Catholic School is celebrating the wonderful success of its inaugural Y12 cohort who, in 2016, received outstanding results in the Higher School Certificate. With 13 Band 6 (greater than 90) results from six of the 24 full-time and two part-time students, 25 per cent of the Y12 cohort achieved a Band 6 or equivalent result in one or more of their courses. The stand out performer was Alexandra Robson, who achieved 90 or above in five of her courses, an outstanding achievement. Of all results, 44 per cent of all examinations the students attempted achieved at a Band 5 or higher (80 or above), while 80 per cent of all results achieved were a Band 4, 5 or 6 (70 or above). The class results were also exceptional, with 15 of the 22 courses achieving results above the state average, with 30 per cent of the courses recording a result more than 5 per cent above the state average. 13 of the 22 courses achieved a higher percentage of Band 5 and 6 results combined than the state, with 19 of the 22 courses achieving a higher percentage of Bands 4-6 than the state. Of the ATAR results, three students achieved above 90, with Alexandra Robson receiving an ATAR of 94.3, Annabel Grant-Frost 93.3 and Emily Lynch 91.6.

St Matthews 2016 Y12 students The great success of the cohort is the fact that, of the 24 students that left St Matthews at the conclusion of 2016, 20 of those students have been accepted into university, while the other four have been accepted into TAFE courses. Principal, Mr Jason Hanrahan, said “These results are a wonderful recognition of the work done by the students, staff, parents and school community throughout these students’ 13 years of education at St Matthews. They do not come by accident. They are the accumulation of quality

teaching, the collaboration between all members of our community and years in the development of grit and resilience in our young people”. “The achievements of our students are an affirmation for our School of the outstanding level of learning and teaching that is delivered on a day to day basis, from Kindergarten to Y12. We were always proud of our students, these results are the icing on the cake”. Justin McCarney

The optional extras at St Lawrence’s


oonamble: There are SOME advantages to down-sizing from a central to a primary school, one of which is those ‘optional extras’ that aren’t usually part of a primary campus. The students of St Lawrence’s Primary School, Coonabarabran have access to an agricultural plot, where they breed cattle and other livestock for show. They are also fortunate enough to have their own science lab, which certainly gives them an advantage in accessing the NSW science syllabus (K-10). Janine Kearney Y6 ‘Scientists’ at St Lawrence’s in Coonabarabran

Page 26 • April 2017 • C a t h o l i c O B S E RV E R , T h e D i o c e s e o f B a t h u r s t

Catholic Schools Week - Open Community Day


ugowra: On Monday 6th March, staff and students welcomed young families and community members to our School for an inspection of classrooms and facilities and to join us in some fun activities and our Teddy Bears’ Picnic. School in 2017 is very different to what many parents remember of their education, so it was an opportunity during Catholic Schools Week to open up our school and show how much fun the learning opportunities that children have these days can be. Principal, Cathy Eppelstun, gave the adults a tour of the school, church, hall and  playground, answering many questions about modern teaching, whilst the little ones joined the older children in the infants room for story time, singing and playing in ‘big school’.

Some ‘future’ students spend time at Big School on Open Day

Activities and games continued outside under the COLA and on the lush green playground with gross motor activities, whilst the adults enjoyed morning tea. At lunch time, all the children sat down together to eat their picnic lunch with their teddy bears. Catholic Schools Week in Eugowra continued with a visit from the Life Education Van, swimming for sport, an activities afternoon and a circus workshop. The week showcased all that our school has to offer; great learning and a great community. Sarah de Lange

Pippa Combe at the Teddy Bears’ Picnic

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Located in the rural village of Eugowra, is the tradition of Catholic teachings begun by the Sisters of St Joseph in 1882. Today our small school is still thriving and growing with our rapidly changing world, based on the teachings of the Gospel spirit of freedom and love. St Joseph’s encourages the development of each child, spiritually, cognitively, emotionally and physically. Pye Street, Eugowra NSW 2806 Contact Principal: Cathy Eppelstun 02 6859 2485 Website: Email: C a t h o l i c O B S E RV E R , T h e D i o c e s e o f B a t h u r s t • April 2017 • Page 27

The Assumption School LEAPs into 2017


athurst: On 24th February 2017, The Assumption School community gathered for our Opening School Mass of 2017, celebrated by Fr Paul Devitt. During this Mass, we welcomed all of our new Kindergarten 2017 students, the 11 students who have joined us this year and eight students who joined us during 2016. A highlight of our Mass was the blessing and induction of our school captains and Y6 leaders. We congratulate Hope, Blake, Jade and Will on their willingness to serve our community in these important leadership roles. All Y6 leaders were blessed by Fr Paul, after making their leadership pledge. This year we have taken the theme of LEAP - challenging ourselves to leap into new experiences and opportunities through Learning, Effort, Attitude and Participation. Fr Paul took this further with us during our Mass by reminding us that frogs leap and that FROG can stand for Fully Relying On God. So

Fr Paul, 2017 Assumption School Leaders with their parents and Mrs Guilfoyle throughout the year at Assumption School, we will be leaping to new

Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden


ellington: St Mary’s students have started to explore the garden. We began with a productive lesson early in Term 1, weeding and planting, moving mulch and garden stakes. We also planted some seeds into our seed trays which are coming along beautifully. In late February, we picked some cherry tomatoes which we then used to create a very yummy salad in our fantastic kitchen. How blessed are we to have such a lovely environment to work in.

heights by relying on God. Sue Guilfoyle

Kindergarten kindness cups

Keen students have also been coming to the garden during lunch times to help with weeding, in preparation for the seedlings we are growing. Kellie Rich

The kind Kindy students at St Mary’s ellington: In the very first few weeks of term, Kindergarten students have been exploring different ways to show kindness to each other. We made ‘kindness cups’ and decorated them to encourage each other to be kind. Whenever we see kindness in our classroom, playground or around our school a kindness coin is put into our cup. We will like to encourage everyone to throw kindness like confetti!


St Mary’s kids love getting their hands dirty Page 28 • April 2017 • C a t h o l i c O B S E RV E R , T h e D i o c e s e o f B a t h u r s t

Mellisa Nicholson

EXALT - A night of Praise and Worship!


n 2nd December 2016, the Parish of St Mary and St Joseph, Orange was the first parish to hold Exalt, a great night of praise, worship, music and fun for the youth of our Diocese. It was a wonderful gathering of more than 50 youth, with many students coming from various parts of the Diocese. A bus from Dubbo brought 14 energetic and cheerful students, mostly from St John’s College. Orange, as the home parish, contributed the majority of the attendants, with St Joseph’s, Manildra also bringing a bus load of younger participants, which was fantastic to see. People from Bathurst and Portland also travelled to be part of the night.  Exalt began with a BBQ outside St Joseph’s Presbytery, followed by singing and dancing. The band, which was directed by seminarian, Karl Sinclair, played some great worship hymns, which helped bring the young people to the spirit of the night: Praise and Worship. The highlight of the night was an inspiring testimony by Leah Herbert, a student from St. John’s, Dubbo. In her testimony, Leah urged the young people to overcome fear and let it be turned into strength by getting close to Jesus and letting him come into their life. In addition to Leah’s testimony, Sandy Abbey’s talk on ‘the Reason for the Season’ also helped the young people to better understand the meaning of Advent. All these activities led to the most important part of the night - spending time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament at Adoration and Benediction.

Senior students from Dubbo and Orange

Fr Garry leads the group in prayer

During the Adoration, the students were able to attend the Sacrament of Reconciliation with either Fr Garry McKeown, Parish Priest of St Mary’s and St Joseph’s, Orange; Fr Ephrem Thadathil, Assistant Priest, Fr Brien Murphy or Fr Pat Ruane. The event then closed with more singing and dancing. The night went very quickly with everyone having a fantastic night time. Plans are underway for other parishes to hold Exalt events across the Diocese over 2017. Watch out for more information. Dong Van Nguyen Seminarian 

Students from St Joseph’s, Manildra

C a t h o l i c O B S E RV E R , T h e D i o c e s e o f B a t h u r s t • April 2017 • Page 29

Grandparents’ and Older Friends’ Day


oonamble: Catholic Schools Week 2017 was celebrated from 5th-11th March and St Brigid’s Primary School threw open its doors for the annual Grandparents and Older Friends’ Day. A large crowd of visitors filled the church for Mass, where the students gave thanks for the gift of their grandparents and older friends. Every student was involved in the Mass, with Y5 and 6 singing two beautiful songs, “Faith” and “You’ve Got Me”. Y4 sang the Responsorial Psalm, Y3 dramatised the Gospel and students from Kindergarten, Y1 and 2 sang “Grandma and Grandpa”. Following Mass, the guests joined the students in their classrooms to participate in a range of activities and to look at the work that the students have completed. It was also a wonderful opportunity to show off the brand new classroom furniture that was installed the day before. After visiting the classrooms, the visitors moved to the canteen area for a delicious morning tea. This was provided and served by the Y6 students and parents and proved to be a hit with many staying on to chat after the students and staff returned to class. It was a fabulous morning and it was made special by so many grandparents and older friends making the effort to come along, whether it was from down the road or from as far away as

Destyni and her Pop Scotland. The students particularly enjoyed seeing great grandparents and friends from Koonambil Aged Care who came by bus to join in the fun. We were very fortunate to have the Director of Schools, Mrs Jenny Allen, join us from for the morning and she was very interested in talking to students, parents, grandparents and staff, as well as seeing the many changes at St Brigid’s since her last visit. The students and staff would like to thank everyone for making the day such a success and a very special thank you to our P and F and Bathurst CEO, who provided funding for the spectacular new classroom furniture. Amanda Meers

Julianah and her Grandfather

The Catholic Observer is published by the Catholic Diocese of Bathurst (Diocesan Publications) PO Box 246, Bathurst, NSW, 2795 ph: (02) 6334 6400 fax: (02) 6331 9453 email: Editor ~ Fiona Lewis Communications Co-ordinator ~ Kimbalee Clews Designer ~ Jacqui Keady Printed by: Rural Press Printing, Richmond NSW All material in this magazine is copyright and may be reproduced only with the written permission of the Editor. The Catholic Observer is a member of the Australasian Catholic Press Association.

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Page 30 • April 2017 • C a t h o l i c O B S E RV E R , T h e D i o c e s e o f B a t h u r s t

Student Catechesist Helper Program


uring the end of year Mass for La Salle Academy, Lithgow in December 2016, six students were each presented with an Appreciation Award for Outstanding Effort for their assistance with the Student Catechist Helper Program throughout the year.

Paige McNamara, Mikayla Hawken, Brianna Masters, Brielle Mendham, Imogen Sharp and Grace Hadley spent half an hour each week with students from public schools in the Lithgow area, assisting the Catechists who teach Special Religious Education (SRE). All six girls have been exceptional and we have watched them grow in confidence and competence. They have been an asset to our team of dedicated Catechists and we are grateful for their assistance.

Helen, Hayley, Emily and Vicki

The awards were presented by Helen Ryan, the Director of CCD in the Diocese of Bathurst and me. Hayley Amos and Emily Reynolds from St Raphael’s Catholic School, Cowra have also been assisting with SRE at Mulyan Public School, Cowra for the last two terms and will continue into the first two terms of this year. Both young ladies have been involved in the classrooms, reading stories, providing appropriate questions, helping with the electronic white boards and interacting with the children, showing initiative and supporting the SRE teachers, which is greatly appreciated. Vicki Mair

Helen and Vicki with La Salle Catechist helpers

Opening Hours The Catholic Development Fund office is open for counter service from 10.00am to 4.30pm – Monday to Friday. On-Line Access You can also access the CDF On-Line via the Diocesan website or phone Freecall 1800 451 760 - for information Disclosure: The Catholic Development Fund Diocese of Bathurst (CDF) is not subject to the provisions of the Corporations Act 2001 nor has it been examined or approved by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. Deposits with CDF are guaranteed by CDPF Limited, a company established by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference for this purpose. We welcome your investment with the CDF rather than with a profit oriented commercial organisation as a conscious commitment by you to support the Charitable, Religious and Educational works of the Catholic Church. CDF, nor the Trustees of the Roman Catholic Church for the Diocese of Bathurst are prudentially supervised by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority; contributions to CDF do not obtain the benefit of the depositor protection provisions of the Banking Act 1959; CDF is designed for investors who wish to promote the charitable purposes of CDF.

C a t h o l i c O B S E RV E R , T h e D i o c e s e o f B a t h u r s t • April 2017 • Page 31

Catechists recognised at SRE Awards


everal of our catechists were recognised for their contribution to Special Religious Education (SRE) in public schools at the at the recent SRE Awards ceremony held at NSW Parliament House. Lyn Frecklington from Orange, Sr Anne Houston from Lithgow and Norman Dowton from Dubbo were unable to attend the awards ceremony but were presented with their awards by their parish priests over the past few months. The Celebration of SRE in NSW and ACT is a fitting acknowledgement of all those who teach SRE and a very special acknowledgement of Lyn, Sr Anne and Norman for their commitment to SRE in our Diocese. Helen Ryan

Lyn Frecklington and Fr Garry McKeown

Mrs and Mr Dowton with Fr Greg Kennedy

Catechists commissioned in Gilgandra


n Catechists’ Sunday, 26th February, Helen  Ryan,  Diocesan Director of CCD, conducted a commissioning ceremony during Mass. Helen presented our six Gilgandra Catechists: Judy Bentley, Diane Eaton, Gail Nayden, Margaret Harris, Fr Martin O’Mahony and myself with a candle, commissioning us to go into the local public schools to evangelise the children, taking God’s word and message of love to the children they teach.  

Fr Greg Bellamy with Sr Anne Houston

Helen spoke to the congregation of the wonderful work these generous people do and said that the role of the Catechists is to see, speak and love those to whom they carry God’s message of love. She encouraged others to consider getting involved in this important ministry. Sr Robyn McNamara rsj

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Page 32 • April 2017 • C a t h o l i c O B S E RV E R , T h e D i o c e s e o f B a t h u r s t

Nam Dinh Le installed as Lector


n 18th March, Bishop Michael McKenna installed Nam Dinh Le to the Ministry of Lector. Nam is in his third year of formation at the Seminary of the Good Shepherd, Homebush and this is the first of three steps seminarians take on the journey towards priesthood as part of their discernment and formation: Ministry of Lector, Ministry of

Acolyte and Candidacy.  




Lectors take on a special office within the Church and are called to be servants of the living Word of God. In proclaiming the readings, the Lector does more than simply read. A lector’s spirituality must include an understanding of Holy Scripture as God’s Word made present to

humankind throughout history, but most fully present in the person of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. We offer Nam congratulations and ask for your continued prayers for him as he marks this important milestone on his journey towards priesthood. Kimbalee Clews

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St Malachy’s, Rylstone - world renowned!


rom 1842, travelling priests from as far away as Hartley, Sofala and Gulgong attended to the needs of the local Catholic community of the Rylstone area. The first Catholic church in Rylstone was a timber slab building erected in the 1850s and was used until 1911. St Malachy’s Catholic Church was then built to serve 19 local families who provided their own seating. The church is a Victorian Gothic, stone building and the western end of the nave was added in the 1960s, in a matching style. My husband Ray and I moved to Rylstone from Sydney after retiring in 2012. The potential for passing visitors and locals alike to visit our beautiful church for quiet prayer and contemplation was immediately obvious to me. People from all over the world including Canada, South America, Norway, England, Italy, Germany, Croatia and Japan have visited St Malachy’s to experience the peace and love of God over the past five years. The Church is open for anyone to visit from 10am - 2pm every Saturday and Sunday.

granddaughter of Edward Gell, Architect of St Malachy’s as well as the Cathedral of St Michael and St John, Bathurst. Ms Gore was visiting from Cornwell, England in 2013 while researching her family history. A sample of comments from other visitors include:

Some of the comments from the visitor’s book are worth noting, with one entry from Susie Gore, the great, great

“Nice to be back in the old church again, it has been many years.” Michael Paxton and Edmund Young

“A beautiful church. I prayed.” Sinead O’Sullivan, Ireland “My great grandparents were married in this church in the 1880s.” Kely Young It’s nice to know that a small town like Rylstone, with love and faith, can reach out and make difference in people’s lives all over the world. Angela Krusvar

Could God be calling you to be a priest for the Diocese of Bathurst? You’ll never know unless you begin to open your heart in prayer to the possibilities; and then to speak to someone whose faith and judgment you trust. God does not usually reveal his will in a sudden dramatic way, but in the quiet steps of prayer, sacrament, service, reflection and sharing with other Catholics. Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.” (Mk 10:28-30)

For further information contact Fr Carl Mackander: or Fr Reynold Jaboneta: Page 34 • April 2017 • C a t h o l i c O B S E RV E R , T h e D i o c e s e o f B a t h u r s t

Seminarians explore the Diocese


ike most students in Australia, our seminarians at the Seminary of the Good Shepherd, Homebush always look forward to the summer holidays in January. Four of our seminarians, Nam, Cong, Lam, and Duong, made the most of their time off and took a road trip around the Diocese. The four young men spent eight days visiting Lithgow, Mudgee, Dunedoo, Coonamble, Coonabarabran, Gilgandra, Dubbo, Cowra and Oberon. Nam said “It was great experience for us as seminarians of the Diocese of Bathurst to see the countryside. Our gratitude goes to the priests and the people of the Diocese for their wonderful hospitality”. Kimbalee Clews

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C a t h o l i c O B S E RV E R , T h e D i o c e s e o f B a t h u r s t • April 2017 • Page 35

OSHC at Oberon and Assumption


n the last half of 2016, Centacare launched Out of School Hours and Vacation Care (OSHC) services at St Joseph’s School, Oberon and Assumption School, Bathurst. OSHC is operated by Centacare in partnership with the parish, school and Catholic Education Office. This service is an expansion of the Diocese’s commitment to assisting families. OSHC is open from 7am to 6pm during school days and from 8am to 6pm for vacation care during school holidays. Both centres are well-equipped with facilities for indoor and outdoor activities with the children being provided with breakfast and afternoon tea. The facilities are available to all primary school aged children, with families from other schools welcome to use the service. The Oberon OSHC facility at the St Joseph’s School in Oberon was blessed by Bishop Michael McKenna on 21st February, and the Assumption OSHC was blessed on 28th February. Robert George, Director of Centacare, thanked the school principals, Mrs Donna Maxsted, St Joseph’s and Sue Guilfoyle, Assumption, as well as Fr Filby, Fr Devitt and the parishes for their support. He also acknowledged the commitment of the staff. “We are lucky to have wonderful team members who look after the children and provide a service which is so much more than just babysitting. Children are provided care in a safe and stimulating environment where they can thrive”. Robert George thanked everyone, the Bishop in particular and The Hon Paul Toole, MP for attending and spending their time interacting with the staff and children at both centres. Enquiries can be directed to Narelle Howard at Centacare on 0438 248 551 or Kimbalee Clews

Karina, Donna Maxsted, Fr Filby, Bishop McKenna, Deacon Charles Applin, Belinda and Narelle Howard with some of the students at Oberon OSHC

Fr Paul Devitt, Bishop Michael, team members from Assumption OSHC, the Hon Paul Toole, MP and Sue Guilfoyle with the Bathurst OSHC children

Caring for Families Counselling & Mediation Services ADULTS | CHILDREN COUPLES | FAMILIES For more information about Centacare’s services visit or to make an appointment please call 1800 231 118 Page 36 • April 2017 • C a t h o l i c O B S E RV E R , T h e D i o c e s e o f B a t h u r s t

South Bathurst Indigenous Tenancy


entacare recently launched a new Indigenous Tenancy Project with the aim of improving Indigenous families’ security of tenancy. Funding for the programme was granted by the NSW Department of Families and Community Services to assist Indigenous families in the South Bathurst area. The project also focuses on all the other aspects of their family life, including educational outcomes for children. It will assist families in the programme to create and sustain safe and enriched environments where their children can thrive. Centacare has created a strong partnership with South Bathurst Public School to deliver this programme. Robert George

Cr Graeme Hanger with participants at the program launch

Event of the Year winner!


he Bathurst Family Fun Day (BFFD) won the Event of the Year Award at the Australia Day celebrations in Bathurst. The BFFD is organised by the Bathurst Child and Family Network, a Centacare initiate. It beat a tough pool of nominations including the Carols by Candlelight. This is a remarkable achievement and recognition of the work that Annette Meyers and her team put into this event every year. The BFFD is now a signature event in the Bathurst city calendar and the credit goes to Annette and her team. Robert George 

Annette Myers with former Mayor of Bathurst, Gary Rush

Safe Families, Everyone Thrives


entacare has received funding from the Federal Government for its ‘SafeT’ project.

Gilgandra, Coonabarabran, Baradine and Dunedoo areas. This project embraces a different service philosophy to the one that has traditionally been held. Instead of adopting a broad-brush idea of ‘Aboriginal culture’, it looks at each family within the programme as unique, with its own culture, context, history, strengths, barriers, dreams and needs.

Centacare has been providing services to the Aboriginal communities in the Diocese for the last seven years. The new project “Safe Families, Everyone Thrives” allows Centacare to work with Aboriginal families in the Lithgow, Bathurst, Orange, SafeT will employ Family Mentors

to help families navigate their way through the labyrinth of services and systems to address their problems and needs and support them to achieve their desired outcomes. This project is very close to the social mission of the Church: to help everyone achieve and experience the fullness of life. Robert George

C a t h o l i c O B S E RV E R , T h e D i o c e s e o f B a t h u r s t • April 2017 • Page 37



Plans for the next stages he focus of the external work in the coming year will be on the northern face of the building, from the door nearest the St Mary of the Cross MacKillop statue, around to the door of the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.


The Cathedral Restoration Project has revealed that parts of the inside of the building need to be changed and have provided an opportunity to improve the Cathedral’s use and suitability.

Internally, the first phase of works will be the replacement of the concrete slabs and flooring in the Sacristy and Blessed Sacrament Chapel. Restoring these areas to the original wooden floors, matched to the remainder of the building, will restore appropriate ventilation to address the rising damp and salt problems caused by the 1980s changes to these areas.

After taking into consideration feedback from the parish consultation process, recommendations for the proposed changes have been put forward to Bishop McKenna for approval. An interpretation centre will be established in the near future in the former Mortuary Chapel area, off the Cathedral Entrance, with the Parish Consultation materials available for review and continued feedback.

The proposed changes include: • A new main entrance and ceremonial doors

• Remodel the timber balustrade at the front of the gallery with a glass and timber balustrade

• Relocation of the Sanctuary and Nave

• Relocate the Cathedral Gift Shop to the existing Sacristy

• Renovation of the Blessed Sacrament Chapel

• Retain the Marian Chapel and permanently close off the existing external doorway

• Upgrade to the Baptistry area

• Relocation of the music ministry area to the north-eastern Annexe

• Reconfigure the confessionals on the northern wall

• Redesign of landscaping and Cathedral garden areas

For more information please visit

Piety Shop and Coffee

Working Sacristy

fixed glazing


lockable folding screens



Marian Chapel


New Entry

Entry to Piety Shop

glazed screen




ramp up ramp up

Presider 1897 altar

Altar Ambo

gallery over

trafficable glazing over tombs



Bapistmal font

holy oils cabinet

crucifix in niche


exit only


glazed screen




choir/congregational seating


Page 38 • April 2017 • C a t h o l i c O B S E RV E R , T h e D i o c e s e o f B a t h u r s t



CSU provides support


harles Sturt University (CSU) has made a $4,000 CommunityUniversity Partnership (CUP) grant to the Cathedral of St Michael and St John Restoration Project Committee in Bathurst. Head of Campus at CSU in Bathurst, Associate Professor Chika Anyanwu, said, “The preservation of our regional cultural and historical heritage is part of our Community-University Partnership goals. “We are proud to make a little contribution towards the restoration of the Cathedral, which is the second oldest Catholic Cathedral in continuous use in Australia. “On another level, the participation of CSU Engineering students on the project is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in a project which teaches them how to work around engineering challenges, which by the nature of its heritage status, demands solutions around complex problems with limited flexibility”. Chairman of the Restoration Project Committee, Mr Phil Burgett, said the CUP grant is a tangible sign of the University’s desire to be involved in the restoration of the Cathedral and its commitment to the city of Bathurst. “The CSU CUP Community Grants Program funding provides a valuable and timely contribution to the costs associated with landscaping works

and proposed changes to the interior of the Cathedral, to solve the factors contributing to the deterioration of the building”, he said. A series of consultation meetings has been held with parishioners and stakeholder groups, to brief them on the plans and formally survey the level of satisfaction in their observations and feedback. The outcomes included a high level of engagement and satisfaction with the proposals and provided valuable ideas for further refinement. Mr Burgett said the association with the University through the CUP Grants Program has fostered an exciting

dialogue with CSU’s Engineering program. “This will hopefully see Charles Sturt University student engineers undertaking project work on the Cathedral as a component of their studies, to provide innovative design and construction solutions to the challenges of restoring the Cathedral”, Mr Burgett said. “This aims to advance a practical and constructive relationship between the University and the Catholic Diocese of Bathurst”. Article and photo courtesy of Bruce Andrews, CSU

Please give generously to the Cathedral Restoration Appeal. Donations can be made:

In Person ~ Catholic Chancery Office Bathurst, or your local Parish Office By Phone ~ 1800 451 760 By email ~ Online ~ where you will find more information. Or via the app ~ Cathedral Restoration Appeal Donations over $2 are tax deductible C a t h o l i c O B S E RV E R , T h e D i o c e s e o f B a t h u r s t • April 2017 • Page 39

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