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Volume 53, No 4 DECEMBER 2017 $2.00

Bishop McKenna’s Christmas Message 2017 The Angel of the Lord appeared unto Mary And she conceived of the Holy Spirit “Behold the Handmaid of the Lord Be it done unto me according to your will” And the Word was made flesh And dwelt amongst us


ay the news that God loved you so much that he sent his only Son to be your saviour give you faith and life and a truly Happy Christmas.

+ Michael McKenna Bishop of Bathurst

“The Gift”. This illustration features on the front of the Bishop’s Christmas card and is the work of Sally Sherwood, a Year 6 Student at St Laurence’s Primary School in Dubbo. Sally won the 2017 Bishop’s Award in the Diocese of Bathurst’s Christmas Story Art Competition with this painting.

Bishop’s Christmas Missionary Appeal


he proceeds of the 2017 Bishop’s Special Missionary Appeal at Christmas will once again be directed towards the Diocese of Kohima, North Eastern India. This is the third year the Diocese of Bathurst has supported the Diocese of Kohima, providing much needed funds to provide new infrastructure at Sanis, a large township within the Wokha District and one of the oldest Catholic village communities in the Diocese. The St Peter’s Centre at Sanis is in urgent need of new classrooms. The existing school buildings will be replaced with 17 new rooms. The Centre has a multitude of functions, serving Sanis and the seven other closely located Catholic communities. This includes providing education for up to 300 children, pastoral care, catechesis and evangelisation. Thanks to the generosity of the people of the Diocese of Bathurst, construction on the new classrooms and other facilities commenced early this year. Bishop James Thoppil, from the Diocese of Kohima, was happy to report that the project is progressing

Bishop Thoppil at the building site at Sanis well. “The construction work has begun in earnest. Stage one progress has included site levelling, the laying of the foundations, with the plinth put in place and the pillars and beams being cast. The casting of the first floor is nearing completion”, he said. “We have faced many challenges as we progress, mainly due to the extreme monsoon season we experienced during the year and now, scarcity of water. Contingency

plans are in place to cope with these challenges”. There will be an opportunity to share the spirit of Christmas, and help bring this project to fruition, at all Christmas Masses across the Diocese. You can also send your donation direct to Bishop McKenna at PO Box 246, Bathurst, NSW, 2795.

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Kimbalee Clews

Restore, Rebuild, Renew


n Bishop McKenna’s 2012 pastoral letter “Rebuild my Church”, he reflected on Christ’s call to St Francis to “rebuild my house” and how that message resonated with the Diocese of Bathurst. He observed that “what is true for repairing buildings is also true for attempts to rebuild and renew the Church”. Out of this have come three Diocesan Assemblies, which have developed into a Pastoral Council, whose members carry on the work of renewal in six working groups throughout the year. A report on our most recent gathering may be read on page 14 of this edition of the Observer. The Diocesan House of Prayer at Carcoar has had its buildings and gardens renovated. And the Shalom community has begun again to make it alive with prayer, service and welcome. The restoration of our Cathedral has continued, with results now becoming visible - and audible. The Bell Tower has been beautifully renewed and now rings out with joy. Work is progressing well on the rest of the building and will soon move to the interior and to landscaping. In 2018, we will keep on building according to our mission to proclaim that Christ is alive in the community that bears his name. One initiative will be the construction of a state of the art, purpose built house for people in our community with complex disability needs. It will provide around the clock accommodation and care for up to five residents. It will see the mission of the local church put into practice and allow individuals access to services and accommodation that can help them live independently and achieve their personal goals. In another development, the Cathedral Parish has obtained use of the former St Catherine’s Nursing Home facility in Busby Street, Bathurst, to provide services to assist people with a

The newly restored Cathedral Bell Tower variety of needs. The first to benefit will be families needing accommodation when visiting relatives and friends in the Bathurst Correctional Centre. Preparing for Christmas, we give thanks for these signs of progress, and pray that our church will continue to respond to Christ’s call to Rebuild, Restore and Renew.

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Karl’s journey continues


ishop Michael McKenna admitted seminarian Karl Sinclair as a Candidate for Ordination at Mass in the Cathedral of St Michael and St John on Sunday 12th November 2017.

Karl recently completed his sixth year at the Seminary of the Good Shepherd, Homebush and is well known across the Diocese, especially in the Parish of St Brigid’s, Dubbo, where he spent a year on pastoral placement in 2016. Bishop Michael concelebrated Mass with Dean of the Cathedral, Fr Paul Devitt VG and Fathers Joe Dooley PE, Tony Mannix CM, Danny Meagher (Rector of the Seminary), Ed Travis (Spiritual Director of the Seminary), Arthur Givney (First Year Seminary Director) and Rode Hanna (newly ordained Chaldean priest). Deacons Josh Clayton and Terry Mahony assisted the Bishop.

Bishop Michael with Karl, Fathers Rode and Paul, Deacon Josh Clayton, Altar Server Patrick Clayton, Dong Nguyen, Deacon Terry Mahony, Fathers Danny, Arthur and Joe

Around 30 of Karl’s fellow seminarians were also in attendance, as well as many family and friends. Karl will continue his formation in preparation for ordination to the diaconate and then finally, God willing, to the priesthood. He will spend the rest of the year at the Parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Coonamble assisting Fr Antony Vattakunnell. Please keep Karl in your prayers as he continues his journey to priesthood. Kimbalee Clews

Donna, Karl and Paul Sinclair

Karl, Fr Danny and Karl’s fellow seminarians

Bishop Michael admitting Karl as a Candidate for Ordination

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Catholics and Anglicans come together at Carcoar


n Tuesday 14th November, the clergy, religious and chaplains of the Anglican and Catholic Dioceses of Bathurst gathered at Shalom House of Prayer, Carcoar for a day of reflection, prayer and learning, centred on the Covenant between the two Dioceses. Bishop Michael McKenna was joined by Bishop Ian Palmer, Anglican Bishop of Bathurst, and others from across the Diocese and further afield, including Grenfell, Cowra, Dubbo, Orange, Mudgee, Bathurst and Blayney. The day was facilitated by Reverend Tim Watson, Anglican priest from Brighton in the United Kingdom and involved the ongoing dialogue between the Anglican and Catholic Church communities. Deacon Josh Clayton

Bishop Ian Palmer and Bishop Michael McKenna

The gathering at Carcoar

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Year of Youth


he liturgical year of 2018 has been declared a national Year of Youth for the church in Australia. This is a terrific opportunity for our community to reflect on the important role young people have in our church and the ways they can help form and challenge the future as members of the Catholic community. 2018 is also the 10th anniversary of WYD in Sydney, which was an amazing expression of the young and vibrant faith present in so many parts of the world. It also is a reminder for us in the Diocese of Bathurst of the pilgrims who were with us before the gathering in Sydney and generously shared their culture, fun and, of course, their vibrant faith. This was a wonderful and uplifting time for the Diocese, a chance to see the wide breadth of the Church, alive and willing to reach out to others. The Year of Youth hopes to remind us of the important role of young people in our Church. They are the Church of now!

This year will allow parishes to focus on on the role of youth in their communities. It will be a chance to ask tough questions of ourselves and our parishes. How do we welcome and encourage young people in their

faith? Do we want to allow change in our communities? Do we make the space to allow young people into our communities? It also means that the joy that is so present in many young people should always remain part of our journey with God. We hope and pray that the Year of Youth will enliven our communities and remind us all of the joy and hope that comes from following Christ! Deacon Josh Clayton


For our Diocese, the Year of Youth

will commence with a gathering of Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF) 2017 participants in Lithgow on 6th December 2017, leading into the ACYF, the largest gathering of young Catholics in Australia since World Youth Day.

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Celebrations for the Feast of the Virgin Mary


he Parish of St Mary and St Joseph, Orange held its third patronal feast day of Our Lady at St Mary’s Catholic Church on Sunday 10th September 2017. The day began with Fr Greg Bellamy celebrating Mass. A family fun event followed and a lovely day was had by kids and adults alike with food, games, a jumping castle and slide, face painting, raffles and lots more to keep everyone entertained. We were very blessed with the turn-out this year, with close to 500 attending the celebrations. We are looking forward to a bigger and better feast day next year, which will be now held on the second Sunday of September every year, so save the date. Events like these do take a bit to organise, so if anyone is interested in joining our committee, please contact me on 02 6362 8805 or lucylofaro@ Alternatively, you can contact Father Greg at the Presbytery. A huge thank you to everyone involved, especially Fr Greg, for all the help given. We could not have done it without you. Lucy Lo Faro

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50 years of loving service


his year, we celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Sisters of St Joseph’s Mission in Papua New Guniea (PNG), established by Mother Xavier (Sr June Cleary rsj). Sisters Margaret Schiemer, Kathleen Luchetti and Robyn McNamara were the pioneering community at Suian, in the Diocese of Aitape, PNG. Their presence there was welcomed by the people as they taught in the little bush school and provided medical assistance such as delivering babies, dressing wounds and giving injections to those suffering from Malaria. We rejoice and give thanks for the many Sisters who followed in the footsteps of the pioneering Sisters and ministered among the people of PNG. Fr Martin O’Mahony

Sr Robyn with two Franciscan Sisters for Aitape

Sr Kathleen with her parents Tony and May; Bishop A R E Thomas; Sr Robyn and parents Pearl and Jack; and Sr Margaret with her mother Molly after receiving their Mission Cross at the Cathedral in 1967

Mudgee ‘in the pink’


he towns of Mudgee, Gulgong and Kandos showed their support for the McGrath Foundation during October by dressing their homes, businesses and vehicles in pink, to raise awareness of breast cancer and fund breast care nurses in the Central West. St Mary’s beautiful pink roses (which were specially bred for the Church) were in full bloom, putting on a wonderful display of colour as we neared the end of the month. Pattie Kiddle

St Mary of the Presentation Church, Mudgee

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Embrace the spirit of giving with a Caritas global gift


or many, the Christmas period is a crazy time of gift giving and searching for the perfect present; however each year, many millions of those gifts are actually unwanted. In an age where most of us have more than we need, an unwanted gift represents a significant waste and serves as a profound symbol of the wealth gap between western countries and those living in poverty. But what if we could make sure our Christmas gifts had more meaning? What if they were guaranteed to bring joy and change lives globally? This year, Caritas Australia is encouraging Australians to help to create a lifetime of change for some of the world’s poorest communities. Last year, Caritas helped more than two million people directly through emergency and development programs. Caritas Australia’s Head of Engagement and Sustainability, David Armstrong, said Caritas Global Gifts offer a way of showing our compassion to those in need, while rediscovering the true

meaning of Christmas. “Caritas is working globally to alleviate poverty and assist people to live healthier, happier lives”, Mr Armstrong said. “When you send a Global Gift to a friend or loved one, you’re helping

By buying a Global Gift this Christmas you are helping women like Doney learn to read and write Photo Credit: Andrew Garrich/ Andrew McClymont - Caritas

to spread the message that is the very essence of Christmas - that we’re all part of the one human family, working to make the world a better place”. Global Gifts can be purchased from as little as $10 and come with a card for a friend or family member. “Whether you buy one gift or many, you will touch the life of a community. Thanks to your support, entire communities are empowered to create better futures for themselves and their families”, Mr Armstrong said. Doney, a young woman living in a remote Malawan village, is a great example of how lives can be transformed when compassion is put into action. Malnutrition plagues a third of Malawi’s 19 million people, but thanks to farming methods introduced with the support of Caritas Australia, Doney’s community is benefitting from a bumper harvest. To learn more or to purchase a Global Gift, 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 • December 2017 • Page 9

Beacons of Faith


t’s been almost two years since Deacons Terry Mahony and Charles Applin were ordained, the first men ordained to the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese’s 150 year history. Rev Mike Williams and Rev Josh Clayton followed, being ordained as deacons earlier this year. Our deacons are actively living their vocations within the Diocese and I recently caught up with each of them to learn about their individual ministry and involvement in our local church. Deacon Charles Applin and his wife Joan have been involved in church life and ministry at the Parish of St Vincent’s, Portland since moving to the area in 1971. Charles is a member of the Diocesan Pastoral Council (DPC) and is currently involved in the development of a Diocesan Ritual and Liturgical Notes for ‘Sunday Celebration of the Word and Holy Communion in the Absence of a Priest’, which will also include presenting training sessions for lay ministers at Kandos/Rylstone, Gulgong and Mudgee. Bishop McKenna recently appointed Charles to assist with the pastoral and sacramental life of the Parish at Kandos/ Rylstone. In the future, Charles said he looks forward to engaging with the faithful of Kandos/Rylstone in maintaining their positive and enthusiastic faith encounter. “I also look forward to training lay ministers in all aspects of ministry and maintaining an ongoing pastoral presence at Macquarie Care in Bathurst, as well as in Kandos and Rylstone”, he said. Deacon Terry Mahony and his wife Christine have lived in Bathurst for over 30 years and enjoy being involved in a range of Cathedral Parish groups and activities. Terry said “My current ministry includes providing pastoral care to the residents of Macquarie Care, Bathurst. I continue to serve as a deacon for some Sunday Masses at St Catherine’s Nursing Home as well. I work closely with Fr Filby, Parish Priest at St Ignatius, Oberon, to support the Parish and its pastoral needs”.  Terry is a member of the Marriage and Family working group of the DPC. With regard to what lies ahead Terry said, “In my role, the prime focus is in

Deacons Terry and Charles visiting with Mary and Pat Roebuck at Macquarie Care being present to the people or community others to encounter Christ in a deep and involved. I intend to increase my support meaningful way”. at Oberon by working closely with St Deacon Mike and his wife Peta have Joseph’s Catholic School and the local lived in Wellington since 1990. Mike residential aged care facility. I also has been the Prison Chaplain at the look forward to continue to serve as Wellington Correctional Centre for the a deacon at St Catherine’s, to support the past six years. Prior to this, he was a retired priests and community there”. teacher at St John’s College, Dubbo and Deacons Josh and Mike have slightly St Mary’s Catholic School, Wellington. different roles to that of Charles and Mike also is a member of the DPC. Terry, as they are both employed in full With regard to his role as Prison Chaplin time positions within the Diocese. Mike Mike explained, “The role of a prison is a Prison Chaplin, while Josh is the chaplain is being Christ’s hands, feet and Ministries Co-ordinator for the Diocese. eyes in prison. It’s not as difficult as you Josh and Anna Clayton live in Bathurst might think. It’s different. It’s a ministry with their four children and believe of presence. Who we meet is the person, strongly in the power of parishes to be not their crime or background. We see the centre of outreach and evangelisation and hear the person and provide them in communities: places of encounter an opportunity for confidentiality, a listening heart and spiritual support. with each other and Christ. Sometimes we become the advocate for Josh works closely with the Parish of the inmate or liaise with their family, St James’, Blayney where he attends with the aim of empowering the person. Mass with his family and is involved in The people we work with may share sacramental preparation for students at their life and story with us, this makes St Joseph’s, Blayney and Blayney Public me feel very privileged. This is God at School. work in my life”. He is part of the Steering Group for the “God guides me through each day, Ministry Formation Program (MFP), is answering my prayers in the most a member of the DPC and is part of the extraordinary ways and through the Covenant Committee with the Anglican most unlikely of people. I am certain Diocese of Bathurst. that I receive far more grace from those I Josh said “I am looking forward to minister to than I could possibly bring to continuing to work closely with families them”, Mike said. in sacramental preparation, looking We give thanks for the wonderful gifts our at ways to connect with, rather than deacons bring to our Diocese, especially just ‘doing’, the Sacraments, as well as to those most in need. Please keep them helping all those who do so many great in your prayers as they continue to serve things in the Blayney parish. Another us each and every day. important focus will be to help parishes deliver the mission of our local church Kimbalee Clews in their communities and helping

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Community Heritage Grant awarded to the Diocese


he Diocese of Bathurst has been awarded a Community Heritage Grant (CHG), which will fund a ‘significance assessment’ of the Diocese’s historical collection, as well as assist with the preservation of the collection, conservation treatment and collection management training. The CHG program is managed by the National Library of Australia (NLA) and is funded by the Federal Government. It provides grants of up to $15,000 to community organisations such as libraries, archives, museums, indigenous and multicultural groups, genealogical and historical societies nationwide.

The grants are designed to assist with preservation and improved access to locally-owned but nationally significant collections. Recently, Mr Peter Condon who is responsible for the Diocesan archives, attended a three day work shop in Canberra. This was conducted by the NLA as part of the program and while there, Peter was presented with the grant. The process of conducting the assessment will begin early in the New Year. Kimbalee Clews

Marie-Louise Ayres, Director-General, NLA; Peter Condon and Mathew Trinca, Director of the National Museum of Australia

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Youth group welcomes grant


one-off grant of $13,500 from the NSW Government to the Cathedral Parish Youth Group, to help establish a social enterprise drop-in café, is being described as “heaven sent” for the young people of Bathurst. Bathurst MP, Paul Toole, said he had been notified by Premier Gladys Berejiklian that the money would be made available as seed funding for the project. “The Fully Alive Café is not a standalone entity”, Mr Toole said. “It is being established to build on the services already provided by the Cathedral Parish, which include youth work, informal and formal gatherings, structured programs, a wide range of community development initiatives and an information, referral and support service”. Mr Toole said the local youth group has been operating for the past two years from the Cathedral Parish Centre. “It has given them access to a space which they really feel is a place to call their own”, he said. Sarkis Achmar from the Youth Group said they promoted the idea of a dropin café, knowing that Bathurst does

Sarkis Achmar, The Hon Paul Toole and Dean of the Cathedral, Father Paul Devitt not offer anything for the youth of the city within the CBD. “When the Cathedral Parish offered us a space in their Parish Centre, we gladly accepted”, Mr Achmar said. “Now, with this funding, thanks to Mr

Toole and the State Government we are off and running. It’s just huge for us. It really is heaven sent”. Mr Toole said the money will be used to finish benches in the drop-in café, buy some more equipment and the stock they need to start operating.

Praying the Rosary at Lithgow


n 14th October, members of Lithgow’s St Patrick’s Parish gathered outside the church to say the Rosary in honour of the 100th Anniversary of Our Lady appearing to the three children at Fatima in 1917. The prayer group joined an Australian wide chain of Rosaries held in open grounds to mark the special occasion. It was a dismal day, but the crowd of about 35 people recited the Rosary together, sang hymns and also said the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary. My wife Beverly and I organised the event, with help of the Lithgow Parish Rosary family, who have been meeting every Tuesday night for the past 16 years to pray the Rosary together. Terry Fitzpatrick

Parishioners from St Patrick’s Parish, Lithgow

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St Raphael’s Catholic School wins Reserve Grand Champion


OWRA: The 2017 Archibull Prize has been held with St Raphael’s Catholic School taking out Reserve Grand Champion in their first year of competition. Up against more experienced schools, St Raphael’s was edged out of the major award by Calvary Christian College Carbrook Campus, QLD. Thirty schools across NSW, QLD and ACT took part in the seventh instalment of The Archibull Prize, following the theme that feeding, clothing and powering a hungry nation is a shared responsibility. Students were joined by Young Farming Champions as they researched their nominated farming industry and presented their findings in blogs, infographics and multi-media presentations, and by adorning their Archie - a life-sized fibreglass cow. St Raphael’s studied the Australian grains industry and were assisted by Young Faming Champions, Stephanie Fowler and Marlee Langfield. Created by students in Year 7 to 11 their Archie, Sow-phie, is about “sowing” the seeds of attitude change, focussing on innovation, science and technology

Students representing St Raphael’s, Cowra with Costa Georgiadis in the grains industry. The School also won the Alan Eagle Award for the school who most engaged with the community at the highest level. Students Ben Price and Katie Brown were also recognised. Ben was awarded the S Kidman and Co Prize for most outstanding student and Katie won the Farmers for Climate

Action Award, showcasing how our innovative farmers are adapting to climate change. The awards were presented at a ceremony held at Sydney Olympic Park on Tuesday 21st November, attended by dignitaries including The Hon. Adam Giles and celebrity, Costa Georgiadis.

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An Assembly with heart


he Annual Assembly of the Diocesan Pastoral Council (DPC) was held in Bathurst at the end of October and was attended by the Bishop, the Vicar General, members of the Council, deacons, seminarians and Chairs of the Diocesan Finance Council, Diocesan Education Council and the Centacare Advisory Council. The Assembly commenced with a smoking ceremony and a moving Welcome to Country by Wiradyuri elder, Dinawan Dyirribang (Uncle Bill Allen Jr). Dinawan spoke of dreamtime stories and the close link between Indigenous and Christian spirituality. The atmosphere was charged with energy, created by the positivity and optimism of those present. This was further encouraged by music provided by seminarian, Karl Sinclair, with contemporary music and hymns fostering an ideal environment for the gathering. Mr Daniel Ang, Director of Evangelisation for the Diocese of Broken Bay, again facilitated this year’s gathering. Daniel was with us for the 2016 Assembly and was impressed with the progress the groups had made over the past 12 months. He provided practical and useful guidance and formation, encouraging Council members to be “missionary disciples” in each of their parishes, as they continue to work for the mission of our local church. The gathering was a chance for the Council to reflect on who we are as a community of followers of Jesus Christ, and our call to go out to the margins and help others experience the love and hope that comes from knowing him. It was also an expression of the hope and the passion that so many in our parishes have for our communities; wanting them to grow and find new ways of engaging with others about the message of Jesus. Delegates heard reports on what is happening across the Diocese in various areas, including Catholic Schools Youth Ministry Australia, the Ministry Formation Program and the Diocesan Youth Plan.

Dinawan Dyirribang and Deacon Terry Mahony The six working groups include Hearing and Proclaiming the Word of God; Worshipping God in Prayer and Sacrament; Building a Community of Love and Service; Participation of Indigenous Catholics; Participation of Young Catholics; and The Domestic Church: Marriage and Families. Delegates listened to what each group has worked on over the past year, and had the opportunity to provide comment and feedback to the Bishop on proposed Diocesan Confirmation and funeral policies. The working groups have each met a number of times during the past 12 months, developing and delivering various initiatives. At the Assembly, each group presented one specific proposal for possible implementation across the Diocese and these were discerned and discussed with the whole Council. The Bishop will now give consideration to each of these proposals. Some will be implemented in the new year: others will require further work on practicalities. The Assembly continued on Sunday, beginning with Mass in the Cathedral, at which Bishop Michael presented the Council members with an icon of ‘Our Lady of the Central West’, as a token of appreciation for their on-going work. In his concluding remarks, Bishop Michael acknowledged the work of the various groups throughout the year and expressed his gratitude. He also reiterated his message that our Catholic schools are very much part of the mission of the parish, and the importance of our schools and parishes working together as a unit. The Bishop said he looks forward to continuing to work with the groups, to see what might be possible for our Diocese in the future and, based on the Gospel for that Sunday, he urged everyone to remember that “Love must be at the heart of all that we do”.

Bishop Michael addressing the Assembly Page 14 • December 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

Kimbalee Clews

Facilitator Daniel Ang

Monica Foran with Sr Alice Sullivan rsj

Mrs Anne McLean

Deacon Josh, Amy Sullivan and Sandy Abbey

Seminarians Thao Nguyen and Cong Hoang

Daniel with son Noah and Jim Couper

Sr Patricia Powell rsm and Jenny Allen

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ph: (02) 6334 6400 fax: (02) 6331 9453 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.

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 • December 2017 • Page 15

Encounter, Achieve, Flourish


ncounter, Achieve, Flourish has been the mantra reflecting our ongoing journey of transformation within Catholic Education, Diocese of Bathurst (CEDB) in 2017. Responding to Pope Francis’ call to build a culture of encounter, our school communities, together with our office based staff, have endeavoured to support our students each day so that they can achieve and flourish, whilst growing as disciples of Jesus. In this final publication of the Observer for 2017, it is a pleasure to reflect on just some of the many areas of activity which our staff and school leaders have facilitated for students. Our schools have continued to embed the various practices within the Professional Learning Communities model such as teacher collaboration, observation of classroom practice, analysis of student academic data and reflection on effective teaching practices as detailed in our Model of Christ Centred Learning, with a view to ensuring that our students experience a year’s growth in learning for a year’s teaching. In support of developing learning spaces which are more adaptable and engaging, several of our schools have thoughtfully redesigned and refurbished, in consultation with students and parents, one or more classroom/playground spaces. As a result of all of this focus on teacher practice, student learning and enlivened spaces, interschool visits have increased, as teachers and students seek to more deeply interrogate together the complex challenge of teaching in the 21st century. There is indeed renewed passion and energy reverberating across the songlines of our Diocese as a result. To ensure that all students have the best possible start to their formal learning journey, most schools implemented for the first time in 2017 our CEDB Ready for Learning program. You may have seen the name emblazoned on some of the local buses as we communicated to the wider community this innovative, impactful program for our kindergarten students.

Educational research has always demonstrated the high positive impact of peer to peer teaching. This was abundantly evident in the success of the program enabling our high school students to design and deliver a range of pre and post sacramental programs to students in their parish primary schools. This is just one of the positive features of the unfolding Catholic Schools Youth Ministry Program being implemented across our secondary schools by our teachers and youth ministers. A focus on quality pastoral care and wellbeing programs has always been a hallmark of our schools and 2017 saw further discernment and development of our Pastoral Care and Wellbeing Framework. Currently, across Catholic education systems nationally, there is a growing awareness of the need for appropriate and effective formation of staff. In CEDB, this has translated into considerable energy being given to ways that meet that need. Hence, the development and recent approval by Bishop Michael McKenna of our diocesan Faith Formation Framework – The Joy of Missionary Discipleship. Formation in the context of Catholic education is both personal and communal. Every individual working in any capacity in Catholic school communities presents their own personal story, their own personal spirituality and their own community (school/office). This presenting context is the starting point for all formation and we look forward to the ongoing fruits of formation activity across our schools. As we look forward to 2018, the Year of Youth, our guiding mantra will be Blaze New Trails, echoing Pope Francis’ call to young people. With our hearts full of thanksgiving for the exceptional work of our Catholic school communities in 2017, we look towards the future with hope and confidence. Our Lady of the Central West, pray for us.

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Jenny Allen

Local teacher attends PM’s Science Awards


UDGEE: Ms Louise Puslednik, Science Co-ordinator at St Matthew’s Catholic School, was recently nominated by Catholic Education, Diocese of Bathurst (CEDB) to represent the Catholic Education Commission at the Prime Minister’s Science Awards in Canberra. Jenny Allen, Executive Director, CEDB, nominated Louise based on her excellent commitment to science and the extraordinary work she has done with the students at St Matt’s as Science Co-ordinator. The Catholic Education Commission selected Louise as their representative at the prestigious dinner, hosted by The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister of Australia. Louise said “The Prime Minister’s Science Awards were inspiring. I felt honoured to be in the room with so many great scientists and science educators. I’m excited that our government recognised the hard work of Science. I even managed to grab a selfie!”. Kimbalee Clews

Louise with PM Mr Malcolm Turnbull

Sacred ‘ART’


OOLAH: The Sacred Heart Primary School has undergone renovations, maintenance upgrades and technological advancements in recent times. Now, the icing on the cake is being provided by the ‘artistic elements’ in the community. Local artist Lucy Watts and Martine Traill, a Sacred Heart parent, have been busily turning the supporting wall connecting new and old buildings into an artistic eyeful. The tranquil turquoise background provides a suitable backdrop for the amazing sea of colour that really gladdens ‘The Heart’. Janine Kearney

The Sacred Heart Sea of Colour thanks to Lucy and Martine

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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 • December 2017 • Page 17

iRISE 2017


ne hundred and fifty Year 11 students from across the Diocese, as well as from the Diocese of Wilcannia/ Forbes, attended iRISE at the end of October in Orange. All participants have been selected for school leadership positions in 2018.  We were greeted with a Welcome to Country by Wiradjuri Echoes and an opening liturgy that most definitely set the tone for the exploration of faith, culture and leadership which was to follow. Within mixed school groups, four workshops took place, all with varying focuses such as Wiradjuri Echoes, Blind Eye Ministries, RealTalk and Contemporary Music for Worship and Service. Following these enlightening workshops, we joined together for a reflective, prayerful Mass concelebrated by Bishop Michael McKenna and Fr Greg Bellamy, Parish Priest of Orange. Everyone felt really involved in the Mass and started to open up, taking in the messages that were presented throughout the day, like: ‘eliminating stereotypes’, ‘holding a strong, positive inner self worth’, ‘seeing the needs of the body and the soul’ and ‘understanding that it is our job to make our church a place where new ideas and ways to worship can be expressed’. We were able to mix with the other students from the schools during a lunchtime of frisbee throwing and footy kicking. This was followed with an address by the music group Emmanuel Worship and youth ministry worker, Pat Keady. These final presentations saw everyone up dancing and soaking in the passion Emmanuel Worship’s music proclaimed. The day ended with a reflective and possibly the most rewarding session of the day: Servant Leadership. That is, leading the way using our faith and Jesus as a model to guide. The presentation communicated how we as leaders of our school community can make the best of this opportunity, to lead by being of assistance to those in need, in a compassionate and caring manner. The day fulfilled all expectations and left everyone who attended with a new sense of what it means to express our faith, what it means to lead our school community and how we can best connect our faith in God to our call to serve the needs of others through leadership. Special thanks must be extended to all the teachers who accompanied us on the day and allowing us to be part of this worthwhile opportunity, as well as all of those involved in organising such a fantastic day. Daisy Pike Yr 11 Student, MacKillop College

Leaders from La Salle Academy, Lithgow

Students leaders from MacKillop College, Bathurst

Student leaders from St Raphael’s, Cowra

St John’s College, Dubbo representatives

Students from St Raphael’s receiving their welcome packs

Page 18 • December 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

Life, Death and Life A Pastoral Letter to God’s People of the Diocese of Bathurst Dear Friends in Christ, As human beings, we share an awareness that, some day, whenever it may be, each of us will die. This fundamental truth of our existence is not always at the front of our minds. However, even when it is not (and maybe especially then), it powerfully influences the way that we think about ourselves and the world. It shapes our choices, for good or ill, depending on what we believe about the universe and our place in it. In this letter, I invite you to reflect with me on the reality of death and what comes after it. I will do this not, as St Paul put it, like one who has no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13), but as a Christian who, like Paul, has discovered, in Jesus Christ, answers to the deepest questions of who we are and where we are going. And that is where we’ll begin. The story that I want to hand on comes from the first followers of Jesus. But it is one thing to tell his story; it is another to hear it in faith. Faith is not only in the mind; it is a gift and a response, for and of the whole person. It is a relationship with Jesus, who called himself “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6). My prayer is that everyone who reads this may accept a renewal or discovery of this gift of faith that God is offering.

The Gospel of Life How well do we know Jesus? Some know about him as a remarkable man who gave the world sublime teachings two thousand years ago. Even if that was all, he would be remembered and admired. However, we also remember what he did. There were the healings in which people experienced the touch of God. There were the miracles which showed God working in creation. There was the way that he called and formed a small group of followers. And then there was his unjust arrest, torture and trial, during which many of his followers abandoned him. And there was his death. After he died, his followers were plunged into mourning. Not only because they had lost, in bitter circumstances, someone they loved; but because the hopes they had placed in him seemed to have vanished too. Then, one after another, whether alone, or in small groups or large ones, they met him again. He came to them with forgiveness and peace. It was the same man, bearing the wounds of his ordeal, but somehow changed. He had risen from the dead. He had told them, well before his arrest, that this would happen. “And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly.” (Mark 8:31-32) They had not understood then,

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 • December 2017 • Page 19

but they did now. They also began to understand the full meaning of his other teachings, how they related to his deeds, and who he was and where he came from. And now they understood the promise he had made: that this resurrection would be not just for him, but for them as well. He was truly God who had come to share completely in our mortal human life, so that we could share in his defeat of sin and death. “… this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.” (John 6:38-39) This is not a vague promise of immortality. It is not merely the survival of our “spirit”. This is the freeing of all creation from its bondage to decay, for the new heavens and the new earth. It is the resurrection of the body. …the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.” (Romans 8: 18-23)

The “first fruits of the Spirit” come with the experience of God’s mercy. Christ comes to meet us in the very place where our hearts have turned away from God. In his forgiveness, we taste the reality of the Resurrection. This faith is not a superficial belief in what may happen in the future: it is the opening of our lives to the dynamic of the Resurrection here and now.

Preparing to Die Sometimes death comes suddenly; more often, we see it coming in serious illness or simply in old age. When people know that their death is near, they usually make preparations. They attend to practicalities, like wills and funeral plans and so on. Sometimes, they also attend to deeper matters, like relationships that need reconciliation, including their relationships with God. It would seem to make sense for everyone to begin those preparations, especially the deeper ones, well before death is on the horizon. In fact, the faithful follower of Christ should always be getting ready, as the continuing work of our reconciliation with God and others is our daily task.

Once we know that death is coming, the time of waiting can be long and difficult, uncomfortable, even painful. I remember, when I was a young priest, sitting with a very old man who was dying slowly. One night, as I was leaving, he told me that he was pretty sure that he’d still be there the next day. “This dying business,” he said, “is (expletive) hard work.” I have seen some people die in fear and loneliness, but not that often. I have seen many more die peacefully, surrounded with love. And I have seen a few die radiantly, as if expecting to see God face to face very soon. That is not to say that they have not suffered, but that they have experienced Christ suffering with them, and become closer to God already than we could imagine. Dying can be hard work, in a different way, not only for the person who is about to die, but for those caring for him or her as well. At the most ordinary level, their daily routines of work and recreation, even sleep, are disrupted and put on hold. More severely, they may suffer helplessly as onlookers if the mental and physical pain or distress of someone they love is extreme. In such circumstances, it is understandable that some people would want to find an easier way out, to take control of the timing of the end. Even believers must make a serious act of faith to entrust the loved one and the timing of their death to God. Without that faith, the workings of nature can seem cruel and meaningless. It is no surprise that in contemporary Australian culture, there are calls today for legalising euthanasia. One benefit of the debate about euthanasia has been to highlight the fact that good quality palliative care is not currently available to all Australians. This care successfully uses the most sophisticated techniques available for the management of pain and other sufferings. But it also emphasises the emotional care that dying persons, and those who are accompanying them, need. There are many cogent arguments, in the context of civic and social good, for rejecting euthanasia as a solution. In this letter, I would simply restate what all Catholics should know: that to deliberately kill an innocent human being, even for what we may think are their best interests, is a murder and a grave sin. This does not mean that, at the end of life, we must prolong futile and burdensome treatments. In fact, we should not. It does not mean that so-called “life support” may not be turned off. Sometimes, it should. It does not mean that treatments to ease pain, even if they might hasten death, are not permissible. They are. It simply means: you shall not kill.

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When One of Us Dies When one of us dies, there is a basic human response to gather in grief, seeking the consolation of family and friends, supporting by our presence those who grieve the most. The customs and rituals which we develop can organise this kindly intent into words and actions that bind us together as a community of mourning. This gathering is not restricted to the funeral rites, but also includes our loving presence to one another from the time of the death and through the weeks and months that follow. The local Catholic community, called to be the presence of Christ, brings his love to those who suffer loss in this moment. We also mourn in hope, believing in God’s promise of mercy and resurrection for the one who has died. As Christians, we are both ministers of consolation and ministers of the Gospel. Properly understood, these ministries will not be in competition, because they do in fact need each other. Neither should be forgotten nor neglected.

For this reason, it is important that we take care with how Catholic funerals are planned and conducted. The Church has given us a fine document called the Order of Christian Funerals (OCF). It provides for adaptations according to local customs and traditions, consistent with what we proclaim about Christ’s victory over sin and death. Following consultation with the Priests, Deacons and Pastoral Council of our Diocese, I am issuing guidelines for our local church to complement and apply the OCF. They will be available on our website. Each funeral includes remembering the person we have lost. Their absence now is real, but so too are our memories; and so too is the endurance of the good they have done. In St Mary MacKillop’s words, “Gratitude is the memory of the heart.” As Christians, we are not content merely to list the virtues and achievements of the departed, but to see God at work in their life and, through them, in ours. These memories are not always happy. A death can bring into focus relationships, both with the deceased and among their family and others, that need reconciliation and healing. This is not achieved

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 • December 2017 • Page 21

simply and quickly, but we do what we can, when we can, in patience and hope. We humbly acknowledge that none of us can gain salvation by our own efforts, but only through the mercy of God. We also pray for the one who has died. Our Catholic faith tells us that they are not beyond the reach of our prayers, nor we of theirs. We do not pretend to know the ways of God, in time and out of time, in forgiving sins and raising the dead to life, but our prayers for the dead are both a duty and a consolation for us. This is also a deep and effective way of seeking reconciliation and healing when someone has died before they had forgiven us or we had forgiven them. And we pray for the gift of faith, in the first place for those who are suffering the loss and absence of someone who has been part of their lives on earth. Jesus, who wept at the death of his friend Lazarus, is especially close to those who suffer. More than that, he himself has experienced the reality of death and is the one who can lead us out of it. This is a moment of grace for those who mourn, to gain the assurance of this closeness and the belief that death does not have the final word. We also pray for our own faith. When one of us dies, we are reminded that our own turn will come too, sooner or later. When contemplating the destiny of those who have gone before us, we ponder our own destiny and seek a deeper faith in Jesus Christ as the one who can lead us to life. “At the rite of final commendation and farewell, the community acknowledges the reality of separation and commends the deceased to God. In this way it recognises the spiritual bond that still exists between the living and the dead and proclaims its belief that all the faithful will be raised up and reunited in the new heavens and a new earth, where death will be no more “(Order of Christian Funerals, 7). Our Lady of the Central West, pray for us. St Joseph, Patron of the Dying, pray for us.

+Michael McKenna Bishop of Bathurst November 2017

The images of “The Crucifixion” and “The Resurrection” are photos taken by Mr Robert Bruce and appear in the book “The Hardman Windows of St Joseph’s Church Orange 1874 - 1912”

Page 22 • December 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

Christmas Story Art Exhibition and Competition shines in Mudgee


any young artists from primary schools across the Diocese travelled to St Matthew’s Catholic School, Mudgee on 7th September to await the judges’ decisions as the winners of the Diocesan Christmas Story Art Competition were announced. Year 5 and 6 students submitted incredible artworks for the ‘The Christmas Story’ Art Exhibition and Competition, which captures the student’s imaginative interpretation of Christmas. Students have worked on their entries for many months, with the process beginning with a workshop held at the beginning of the year at James Sheahan Catholic High School. To complete their entries, each student also writes a narrative about their artwork and how it represents their interpretation of the Christmas story. Students used a wide range of media to execute their artistic and authentic imagery in their illustration of the Christmas story. The theme was drawn from the Diocesan Religious Education Curriculum and required the students to reflect on a number of Gospel verses from Matthew and Luke. This year’s exhibition showcased about 180 artworks. The major award winners were:

Winner of the Director’s Award “The Distinguished Magi” by Olivia Wright, St Joseph’s, Molong

Special Awards Bishop’s Award

Sally Sherwood

Director’s Award CDF Award Parish Priest Award Y5 Parish Priest Award Y6 Eckersley’s Award

Olivia Wright Tully Munro Caitlyn Shields

Mayor’s Award

Zac Brennan

1st 2nd 3rd 1st 2nd 3rd

Jamie Spargo Lucy Gibson

St Laurence’s, Dubbo St Joseph’s, Molong St Joseph’s, Molong Catherine McAuley, Orange St Michael’s, Dunedoo St Joseph’s, Manildra St Michael’s, Dunedoo

Year 6 Awards Ronan Porter St Joseph’s, Molong Luke Woodhead Assumption, Bathurst Mia Fraser St Joseph’s, Molong Year 5 Awards Oliver Bennie St Joseph’s, Manildra Arabella Evans St Joseph’s, Molong Angela Littler St Matthew’s, Mudgee

The winners will now progress to compete with students from Sydney and Wollongong in the Christmas Story Art Competition in early December and their works will be displayed in the Crypt at St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney. Peta Kingham

First Place, Year 5 “The Little Burrowing Owl” by Oliver Bennie, St Joseph’s, Manildra

Winner of the CDF Award “The Long Journey to Jesus” by Tully Munro, St Joseph’s, Molong

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 • December 2017 • Page 23

HIGH-lighting Lanterns


UBBO: Attracting over 10,000 people each year, the DREAM (Dubbo Regional Arts Entertainment and Music) Festival celebrates all forms of creativity. From lights and lanterns to pianos on the pavement, music and markets, the festival is a series of events that capture the imagination of all who visit. Held in October, the DREAM Festival features a lantern parade, with all sectors and groups within the community taking part. Students from our schools made their own lanterns and formed part of the myriad of light and sound that moves as one along Talbragar Street, culminating in Victoria Park for an evening of fun, fine food and activities. Janine Kearney

Confirmation in Yeoval


One of the many zoo animals that, feature in a Dubbo parade

St Laurence’s students preparing to join in the lantern parade

eoval: On 19th August, parishioners at St Mary’s Church, Yeoval joined the St Columba’s School community in a special Saturday Vigil Mass to celebrate with Amelia Vaughan and Caleb Vickers as they were sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit. Bishop McKenna expressed his delight at being in Yeoval and he certainly showed this by personally speaking with many at the supper afterwards. A special thank you to Fr Carl Mackander for his guidance, support and commendations. Julia Englert

Caleb Vickers, Bishop McKenna, Amelia Vaughan and Simon Brown

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Page 24 • December 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

St Raphael’s inaugural Year 12 Graduation


OWRA: Formal school days have come to an end for Y12 students at St Raphael’s Catholic School. The school community farewelled its first Y12 cohort with a number of special events, which focused on significant elements that have formed the School and its members, past and present. Students and staff were treated to a special lunch in the Hospitality Faculty, as an expression of gratitude for the years of connection between these young people and the infants, primary and secondary staff who have guided them. Fun and lots of laughter were enjoyed at the whole school picnic where everyone joined in the games: piggy-back races, wheelbarrow races, tug-o-war and the much anticipated ‘staff versus students’ dodgeball match. The final day for Y12 was filled with four events of memory and celebration. We began with the Graduation Assembly where students were presented with various awards, including ‘First in Course’ and ‘Application’ Awards and special awards - ‘The Long Tan Leadership Award’, ‘St Raphael’s Caltex

The students of Year 12, 2017 at the St Raphael’s Graduation Mass All Rounder’ and ‘The Brigidine Award’. The Graduation Mass was held at St A special feature of the ceremony was Raphael’s Church, Cowra where the the formal handover of the symbols of theme of Be a Light for the World was academic and faith life of the School from symbolised in words, music and the the 2017 school leaders to the incoming presentation of a candle to each student by their teacher mentor. A highlight of leaders. the Mass was the presence of the staff At the conclusion of the ceremony a choir, whose performance was a special special morning tea, provided by St gift to the graduating class. Raphael’s staff members, was held in the Heritage Courtyard where students, The final event of the day was the families and staff enjoyed time to reflect Graduation Dinner, held at the magnificently decorated Civic Centre. and relax. Again, a team of staff members coordinated this event and the evening was enjoyed by all. The night was filled with memories, laughs, formal presentations, and above all, great joy, as these students reached this milestone in their life’s journey. St Raphael’s is very proud of the 2017 Year 12 Class, as it is of all its students. Susan Whitely

A united Year 12 as they take on the teachers in dodgeball

St Lawrence’s Primary School Coonabarabran

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Sydney Royal Easter Show 2014

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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 • December 2017 • Page 25

A special Grandparents’ Day at St Joseph’s


LAYNEY: The students, staff and community of St Joseph’s Primary School celebrated Grandparents’ Day on Tuesday 24th October. More than 200 seniors from the Blayney Shire and further afield attended the morning tea and luncheon at the Blayney Community Centre. We were very fortunate to have groups of seniors from Lee Hostel and Uralba Aged Care also attending this special day. Grandparents’ Day is an important community event. It gives everyone the opportunity to acknowledge the very important role our grandparents and other special seniors play in our lives and the special place they hold in our families and community. Students from St Joseph’s showcased their talent as they sang, danced or played in the band and the whole of school choir performed beautifully.

Noelene Graham with her granddaughters Holly, Elouise and Matilda Davies

During morning tea, we had the opportunity to celebrate the 90th Birthday of Lee Hostel resident, Mrs Monnie Marmion. The luncheon was served by a group of hard working St Joseph’s volunteers and students from Blayney High School. These wonderful girls were a credit to themselves, their families and their school. Thank you to Lisa Stevens from Blayney High for supporting us in this initiative. Our P&F co-ordinated the catering and we are very grateful to all parents who donated a variety of food or worked in the kitchen. We would also like to acknowledge our sponsors Blayney Supa IGA, Western White Linen Service, Blayney Dairy Farmers and Blayney Foods.

Caleb Newstead, Connie Nicholls and Sienna Newstead

Thank you to teachers for preparing students for this special event. A special thank you to Mr Blair Windsor and Mr Joel Hartmann, who spent many hours working to prepare the performances. We look forward to celebrating this wonderful occasion again next year. Please check out the St Joseph’s Facebook page for more photos. Robyn Wallace

Star performers

St Matthews Catholic School

Providing a comprehensive and quality education in the Catholic tradition for young people from Kindergarten to Year 12.

4 Lewis St Mudgee Phone: 6372 1742 New website: Page 26 • December 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

Students travel to Italy in the name of science!


UDGEE: Three St Matthew’s Catholic School students Jessica Lynch, Callan Double and Hayden Munro - were part of a transformative learning experience in term three, when they travelled to Trieste, Italy, to undertake an experiment examining the efficiency of Italian radiologists in detecting breast cancer. This was part of the University of Sydney’s Research Mentor Program that is offered at St Matthew’s. The aim of this program is to augment the science skills of students through close mentorship by Professor Patrick Brennan, his research team of PhD candidates and postdoctoral fellows from the University of Sydney. Jessica, Callan and Hayden worked collaboratively with Professor Brennan, Kriscia Tapia and Dr Yun Trieu to design an experiment which investigated the effectiveness of Italian radiologists to detect breast cancer on mammograms. Prior to leaving for Italy, the students were familarised with the computer software on which the data from the experiment would be recorded. Upon arrival in Trieste, the team visited Cattinara Hospital to gain an in-depth understanding of the type of hardware and software to be used in the experiment. The following day, the students worked hard developing protocols and procedures for the experiment, as well as trying to quickly learn some Italian to help with communication with the radiologists. The day of the experiment, as with all scientific experiments, was not without

Hayden, Callan and Jessica its challenges. However, the trio handled these with a calm and logical approach. The radiologists were impressed by the conscientious and mature approach Hayden, Jessica and Callan displayed throughout the 12 hour long day at the hospital. There were many lessons learnt, but witnessing the expertise of the radiologists, and problem solving with them throughout the day, were the biggest highlights for our students, not to mention a tour of Cattinara Hospital’s medical physics facilities. As part of the trip, the students were also treated a tour of Trieste’s Elettra Sincrotrone, where they could see physics techniques they had learnt about in the classroom being applied to real world problems such as rootsoil interactions, as well as being able to observe first hand the intersection of engineering and science. This research trip was a once in a life-time opportunity for these three students. It provided them with the opportunity to not only develop and

build upon their science skills but to undertake first-hand, scientific research that will impact women’s health across the world. The cultural opportunities were also endless, with the students being able to appreciate the enormity of the Catholic faith and see the real wonder of God’s work in another context. They were also able to experience art dating back to 1300s, not to mention the delicious Italian cuisine. This trip would not have been possible without the generous support of the St Matthew’s School Community, the Breast Unit team from Cattinara Hospital and the inspirational radiologists who save people’s lives every day. Stay tuned for updates on the results of this international research and more from this dynamic and productive research collaboration between the University of Sydney and St Matthew’s Catholic School. Louise Puslednik Science Co-ordinator, St Matthew’s

Student Catechist Helper Program


RANGE: During Term Two, Helen Ryan and I spent several mornings at James Sheahan Catholic High School (JSCHS), training 18 students to become Student Catechist Helpers. The students have been visiting Orange Public School and Bletchington Public School each week to assist the Special Religious Education (SRE) teachers in those schools to deliver SRE lessons. We would like to thank Mrs Amber Calleja and the Religious Education staff at JSCHS for their support and assistance with the implementation of this program. Special thanks also to Bernadette Collins for organising transport and classes for the students to attend. This vital program not only assists our SRE teachers and their students, but the student catechists themselves

Helen Ryan and Vicki Mair with students from JSCHS gain many valuable skills which, in turn, helps them to nurture their own faith. Vicki Mair

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 • December 2017 • Page 27

MacKillop College Indigenous Immersion Experience


ATHURST: The Immersion Experience to Alice Springs that took place during the September holidays was an incredible journey into the spirituality and culture of the Arrernte people of Central Australia. While at times confronting and challenging the group’s preconceived ideas about our nation’s First Peoples, the experience opened their eyes and hearts more compassionately to the issues and circumstances of the Aboriginal communities we visited. The beauty of the desert region was stunning. The gifts that the Arrernte people conveyed through their art and tradition, especially their Dreaming stories were wonderful, even overwhelming at times. The following is a reflection by Priscilla Evans-Gittany, one of the Year 11 participants: On 30th September, eight Year 11 students: Mikala Bringolf, Samantha Burrow, Darby Elms, Kathryn Evans, Priscilla Evans-Gittany, Jessica Iacano, Caitlin Long and Meghan Porter, teacher, Ms Anita Fry and Youth Minister, Dearne Geddes, departed from Sydney Airport heading for Alice Springs, Northern Territory. Mr Mark Fogarty, our Catholic Mission facilitator, warmly met us at Alice Springs. Participating in the 10 day Immersion

Visiting the Burt Creek Community Experience, our aim was to immerse ourselves in the culture and everyday life of the Arrernte people of Alice Springs and surrounding communities. Whilst learning about the history of Alice Springs’ non existent ‘spring’, we became aware of what Alice Springs really meant to both past and present Aboriginal peoples. A highlight for me was visiting the ‘outback’, the more isolated Arrernte communities just outside of Alice Springs. I saw it as an opportunity to engage with local Elders and young children. I admired their strong connection to their culture, their land and their faith. I believe I have gained more out of the Immersion Experience than I would have if I was ‘just another tourist’. The

Learning how to deleaf and pound plants to make bush medicine

Immersion Experience gave me more insight into and connection with the Arrernte spirituality. I felt like I could be a part of the culture and learn as much as possible, rather than just point and look. Another highlight on our journey was participating in the gathering and processing of traditional bush medicine at the Akeyulerre Healing Centre. I learnt to appreciate the extensive cultural knowledge that the Aboriginal communities have of their traditions. The fact that I could see things being done right in front of me just as the Arrernte Ancestors did thousands of years ago led me to a greater appreciation of the Aboriginal people, culture and spirituality. Priscilla Evans-Gittany Yr 11 Student

Reflections at Simpson’s Gap

Page 28 • December 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

Stannies’ News


ATHURST: On Thursday 26th October 2017, 26 Year 11 students were commissioned as Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist. Bishop Michael McKenna concelebrated this Mass with Fr Peter Reedy CM. These young men prepared well for this role through careful consideration of its responsibilities, understanding that it is a sacred privilege. They will commit to fulfilling this role at College Masses and, where able, in their home parishes. R U OK? Day On 14th September, Stannies students committed to stay connected, frequently check in with one another and continue having conversations as part of R U OK? Day. R U OK? Day is held annually, dedicated to reminding people to ask family, friends and colleagues the question, “R U OK?”, in a meaningful way. The College community supported the day, with teaching staff leading a session with Year 9 students and taking some time in their individual tutor groups to raise awareness and encourage conversation. The College Visual Arts Department and Year 7 students splashed the corridors yellow and black with some R U OK? Day posters to raise further awareness.

Bishop Michael McKenna with the newly commissioned Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist

Year 9 students Geordie Larkin and Reece Sweeting on R U OK? Day

Year 12 Graduation Mass and Dinner Year 12 students and their families recently celebrated their completion of secondary studies with their graduation Mass in the College Chapel followed by the graduation dinner in the Performing Arts Centre. Head Prefect, Dominic McCrossin, delivered an inspiring address, concluding with a poem that he composed on behalf of Year 12, 2017. Dr Anne Wenham Head of College

Stannies’ Year 12 Graduation Mass

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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 • December 2017 • Page 29

National Young Leaders Day St Mary’s students experience a cultural excursion

WELLINGTON: Congratulations to our Stage 2 students who represented St Mary’s Catholic School so positively during their cultural excursion to Dubbo in October. A visit to the Dubbo Western Plains Cultural Centre, art classes and dropping into the Old Dubbo Gaol were highlights of the day.

Simon Price, Principal with School Captains, Henry Powyer and Kate Hannelly


ELLINGTON: Recently, Kate Hannelly (School Captain) and I flew to Sydney with Principal Mr Price, to attend and the National Young Leaders’ Day at the International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour. We listened to four very inspiring speeches from Australian leaders: the Hon Gladys Berejiklian MP, Premier of NSW; John Coutis, Speaker and Mentor; AFL legend and 2014 Australian of the Year, Adam Goodes; and former NSW Commissioner of Police, Andrew Scipione. The Premier’s speech was inspiring to each and every one of the 1,600 people in the room. John Coutis, who is without the lower part of his body, gave a speech that silenced the whole room. It was fantastic and touching.

Adam Goodes was also encouraging as he talked about his football career and how he became who he is now. He then spoke of the importance of continuing the fight against racism and discrimination. Andrew Scipione was the 21st Police Commissioner of NSW until his retirement at the start of this year and motivated everyone, telling us about his career in the Police Force. After the conference, we then went on a harbour cruise around Darling Harbour and walked up George Street, window-shopping. All three of us had a great time and Kate and I would like to extend our thanks to Mr Price for organising and accompanying us on this journey.  Harry Powyer School Captain

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Socktober Day at St John’s Primary


UBBO: As part of its fundraising for World Mission Month in October, the Student Representative Council at St John’s Primary School organised a Crazy Sock Day. For a gold coin donation, students and staff could wear crazy socks to

Halle-Jo Sutcliffe and Gemma Jackson

school for the day. Many of the school community joined in the fun and, at the end of the day, over $600 was raised for Catholic Mission who focused this year on raising funds and awareness for Uganda and Vietnam. David Schwager

Socking it to poverty with crazy socks!

St Matt’s bids farewell to the Class of Year 12, 2017


UDGEE: The school community of St Matthew’s Catholic School said “Congratulations and good luck” to our Year 12 students on 22nd September, at a Graduation Assembly with the entire school. Formally completing their schooling at St Matthew’s, that evening a Graduation Mass was celebrated at St Mary’s Church, Mudgee, with the students and their families being the special guests. A highlight of the Assembly was the beautiful blessing sung to Year 12 by our Kindergarten students, which is sure to be a favourite parting memory of our Year 12 students. We are so proud of you all, and wish you well for the future. Good bye and much love from the St Matthew’s community. Eliza Biddle

Year 12 Graduates with their Kinder friends

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 • December 2017 • Page 31

St John’s College teacher achieves elite status


rs Natalie Polak, Learning and Teacher Co-ordinator at St John’s College, Dubbo, recently achieved national teaching accreditation at the Highly Accomplished level, joining an elite group of 170 higher level teachers in NSW. Natalie was presented with a medal acknowledging her achievement by The Hon. Rob Stokes, NSW Minister for Education, at an award ceremony in Sydney on 11th September 2017. Natalie said she was humbled to have her teaching knowledge, practice and engagement celebrated. She was also proud to represent St John’s College and Catholic Education, Diocese of Bathurst (CEDB) at this distinguished event. When asked what the accreditation means to her, Natalie said, “Being recognised as a Highly Accomplished teacher has opened the door to wonderful professional opportunities”. This year Natalie was invited to be a member of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) Expert Standing Teaching Committee. “I am very fortunate to be able to work every day with young minds and progressive educators at St John’s College and share my insights on education at a national level now with AITSL”, she said.

Natalie and The Hon. Rob Stokes Principal of St John’s College, Mrs Kerry Morris, said Natalie is an outstanding teacher. “As a member of the College leadership team, Natalie works collaboratively to enhance the learning experiences offered to teachers and students to drive greater growth. In particular, Natalie plays a significant role in developing teachers, providing

strategic leadership that promotes innovation and excellence in teaching practices throughout the College”. Accreditation is the structured process through which teachers demonstrate quality evidence-based practice over time, by applying the knowledge and skills articulated in the standards. Teachers seek accreditation at the higher career stages as a means of having their current higher level capabilities as a teacher recognised. Mrs Jenny Allen, Executive Director at CEDB, explained the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers apply to all career stages. “The Standards define the knowledge, practice and professional engagement needed for high quality, effective teaching that improves student learning outcomes. They use nationally agreed indicators of teacher quality to guide the preparation, support and development of teachers throughout their careers”. “Natalie is an excellent example of the calibre of the leaders in our schools. By developing herself and building her expertise as a teacher, Natalie is able to develop others based on the dimension of our Model of Christ Centred Learning, which focuses on developing a learning culture that deepens insight and meaning”, said Mrs Allen. Kimbalee Clews

Can you hear God’s call? 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 more information about exploring your vocation contact Fr Carl Mackander: or Fr Reynold Jaboneta: Page 32 • December 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

Colour Run in the name of fun


ATHURST: On 27th October, The Assumption School was awash with colour!

The school community enjoyed its first ever Colour Fun Run, as the major fundraiser for the year. Each child was invited to seek personal sponsors for the five laps of the oval that they would complete. In addition to this, we were lucky enough to receive business sponsorship which supported the purchase of the coloured powder. In return for their generosity, business owners were given the opportunity to throw some powder at our eager runners.

Mia Negus running the colour gauntlet

Some parents couldn’t resist the invitation to join in and complete a colour lap themselves. It was a wonderful day, full of fun, excitement and laughter. Sue Guilfoyle

Year 6 students with Mr Gibson and Mrs Hanley

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Sheahan on mission!


8 students spent around two months this year learning about Catholic Mission Australia and why we, as Catholics, are obliged to serve and to assist others. This culminated in a Catholic Mission Expo held on 31st October, when students had just two hours to raise awareness and as much money as they could for Catholic Mission.

Exploring the 2017 World Mission Month Appeal, Y8 examined the current plight of children and women in Bujuni, Uganda; Pope Francis’ call to mission; the School’s principal Mercy and Lasallian values of courage, compassion and hope; and the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. This was carried out as a Project Based Learning activity, and led up to the authentic experience of hosting the Expo. Students created resources such as posters, brochures and banners reflecting the issues in Uganda and the reasons behind our obligation to serve others. This was also a project for Y11 Catholic Studies students, who learn about this before Y8 start this topic and then create a 50-minute lesson to teach to Y8 students, as their introduction to Catholic Mission and the Expo. Y11 is also part of the support on the day of the Expo. This year they ran a stand that used Catholic Mission’s ‘360VR boxes’ giving interested visitors a 360-degree sight and sound experience of Uganda. As part of the Expo, the students also designed fundraising activities which included ‘Pin the Hair on Mr Pauschmann’ (the Principal), sponge throwing and a range of other games, and a sausage sizzle and other food stalls. Thanks to the support of the entire school community, who are encouraged to visit the Expo, $3,227.70 was raised! We were privileged to have Bishop

Yr 8 students cooking up a storm to raise money for Catholic Mission

Fr Greg Bellamy joined in the fun at the JSCHS Mission Day McKenna open the Expo with a mini- He extended his congratulations to liturgy this year and also welcomed the Y8 students and the teachers in many other special guests including Fr the RE Department for the time and Greg Bellamy, Sr Helen Saunders rsj, Dr energy invested in the organisation, Angelo Belmonte, Mrs Lorraine Short, planning and presentation of the Expo Br Peter McIntosh FSC (former Principal and the transformation of the School’s at JSCHS), Br Colin Griffin FSC and quadrangle into a ‘mission information Ms Sally Neaves (Rahamim). Catholic marketplace’. Mission’s Mr Marcello Marchesini, “Catholic Mission was once again very filmed the event and interviewed appreciative of being associated with participates and this will be available on such a successful mission awareness YouTube shortly! event at James Sheahan Catholic High The Diocese of Bathurst’s Director of School during World Mission Month”, Catholic Mission, Mr Mike Deasy, also he said. Pip Burns assisted with and attended the Expo.

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Page 34 • December 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

CDF - 2018 and beyond


rom 1st January 2018, there will be changes to the types of accounts the Catholic Development Fund (CDF) can offer. A letter with detailed information about the changes has recently been sent to our investors. For further information, please don’t hesitate to contact the CDF on 1800 451 760.

Our 2018 Koala Club Account launch is coming to a school near you! Katie Koala will be visiting many of the schools in our Diocese throughout February and March. Katie looks forward to meeting everyone! Thank you for your support throughout 2017, it is very much appreciated and vital to our work across the Diocese and we hope to continue our relationship into the future.

CDF Staff are always ready to assist with a smile

The CDF Board, Management and Team wish CATHOLIC everyone peace and joy in this Holy Season. Development Fund 1800 451 760

The CDF will be closed from 4:30pm, Friday 22nd December, 2017 and reopen at 10.00am, Tuesday 2nd January, 2018.

1800 451 760 Email: Disclosure: 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. AFSL No: 497040

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 • December 2017 • Page 35

F r


M a r t i n

n 13th October, Fr Martin O’Mahony celebrated his 80th Birthday and 55 years of priesthood. Fr Martin was honoured to receive a Papal Blessing at Mass prior to the celebration. Another highlight of the evening was when seminarians Thao Nguyen and Duong Ha sang the hymn of ordination in Latin “You are a priest forever  in the line of Melchizedek” at the end of Mass. The following is an address given by Bathurst seminarian, Thao Nguyen, who paid tribute to Fr Martin on this special occasion.

c e l e b r a t e s had been with her son. He decided to go back to give her Holy Communion, despite the fact that it was nearly dark and it was a long way to Gulargambone. I have learnt to be a simple and humble person: I always see Father in his white shirt and black pants. He recently got a new pair of shoes because his old ones were worn through. There is no need for anything more.

When I first arrived in Australia, I was sent to Bathurst to stay with Fr Pat O’Regan, who is now the Bishop of Sale. I stayed there for a few days to settle in and waited to be appointed to a parish in the Diocese to learn English and Australian culture. At lunch at the Cathedral Presbytery one day, Bishop Michael McKenna told me that I was going to Gilgandra to stay with Fr Martin O’Mahony. The only thing I knew about him was that, as my Bishop told me, ‘Fr Martin is an Irishman’. I was excited to go, but at the same time, I was questioning why the Bishop would send me to stay with an Irish priest to learn Australian English and the Australian way of life? However, after a few months staying with Fr Martin, I began to realise that I was sent there, not only to learn English and the Australian way of life, but more importantly to observe and learn how to be a good priest. Of course, English is important to me but it was not actually the priority. Learning to be a good priest is the priority. What I have learnt from Fr Martin? I have learnt how to be kind, generous and hospitable to people: Fr Martin never says no to anyone who is in need. He helps all who come to him to seek his help, as well as those who come to him to ask for food and drink. He never says no to visitors who are looking for a place to stay during their travel. I have learnt to be an enthusiastic, caring and loving person: Fr Martin never wastes time! Whenever he has a spare minute, he will often knock on the door of people around to say hello and visit them, both Catholic and non-Catholic. “Anybody home? Hello!” It is a very good method of evangelisation, in a very Irish way! Father Martin is very popular. He is not only well-known in Gilgandra but also in the other paces in NSW. When I travelled with him from Sydney to Gilgandra, he would stop many times on the way to visit people. It often took us 12 hours - even the car got tired of being stopped and started again. I said to him “Father, you know many people here. How many people do you know in NSW?” “Only half of NSW”, he said. Fr Martin is a travelling person, so much so that people gave him a title: “Saint Martin of Tour”. It is amazing that he can still drive very well at his age. He has not killed many kangaroos; only five so far according to his record. Whenever I told him that I planned to catch the train and bus to Gilgandra, he always has a reason to pick me up me from Bathurst or Orange. Irrespective of whether a person is Catholic or not, Fr Martin will visit them, console them and pray for them. There was a time when we were bringing Holy Communion to a lady in Gulargambone. She was not at home when we arrived. We waited a bit and then came back to Gil. However, when we got home, the lady called Fr Martin and said to him that she

I have learnt that playing sport is only for the sake of exercise and fun, not to win or loose, even though Fr Martin is a sometimes a bit embarrassed to loose to me at golf, given he taught me how to play. Fr Martin is open and willing to learn how to use technology, including email and smartphones, despite the fact that I sometimes get very frustrated showing him how to use the computer or phone. Finally, I have learnt to adapt and persevere with a new environment: Fr Martin came to Australia as an overseas priest. I still remember his story, coming here by boat and starting his ministry here in Bathurst. As a new Australian, he had to experience many difficulties due to language, culture and religion. However, he never gave up. With his faith and perseverance, he overcame all the difficulties and challenges. He has sacrificed and offered all the pain and suffering for the sake of the church in Australia. Whenever I face difficulties and discouragements, Father Martin’s story always offers me encouragement to keep going and trust in God’s plan. Whenever I share my difficulties with him, Fr Martin always encourages me to persevere. Finally, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Fr Martin for his great work for the Church. I thank God for the day he was born, the day he was ordained and for Fr Martin himself; being such a great priest to me and God’s people.

Page 36 • December 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

Thao Nguyen

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Seminarians Duong Ha, Dong Nguyen, Fr Martin and Thao Nguyen

Fr Martin cutting his 80th Birthday cake

Thao delivering his tribute to Fr Martin

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Local Federal Member visits Centacare


he Hon. Andrew Gee, member for Calare, visited the Centacare office in Bathurst recently. It was a great opportunity for Andrew to meet with some of the community programs team members and hear directly from them the work they do, particularly in the Indigenous programs.


Christmas Holiday Break

entacare offices will close for Christmas and New Year from Friday 22nd December to Monday 8th January. The Centacare Team would like to wish you and your family a very happy and holy Christmas season and thank you for your continued support.

Fr Frank Brennan SJ addresses Centacare Advisory Council


r Frank Brennan SJ, the CEO of Catholic Social Services Australia, was the guest speaker at the Centacare Advisory Council meeting held on 9th October. Fr Frank is a Jesuit priest, professor of law at the Australian Catholic University and Adjunct Professor at the Australian National University College of Law and National Centre for Indigenous Studies. He was the founding director of Uniya, the Australian Jesuit Social Justice Centre and is a board member of St Vincent’s Health Australia. He is also an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for services to Aboriginal Australians, particularly as an advocate in

The Centacare Advisory Council with Fr Frank (back row, third from the left) the areas of law, social justice and reconciliation. In 2009, he chaired the Australian National Human Rights Consultation Committee. Fr Frank talked to the Council members about the contemporary

social justice issues Australia is currently facing and the future directions for social service organisations operated by the church. Robert George Centcare Director

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 38 • December 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

Receptive Ecumenism


he fourth International Receptive Ecumenism Conference was held in Canberra last month, bringing together theologians, leaders and committed Christians from all over the world. Gerard Davies and I represented the Diocese of Bathurst at this gathering and were joined by Rev Tim Watson from the Diocese of Chichester and the Chemin Neuf Community. Rev Tim

recently led a reflection at Shalom, Carcoar, for Anglican and Catholic clergy, on the value of receptive ecumenism and its role in our communities and the wider Church. ‘Receptive Ecumenism’ is a term developed by Dr Paul Murray from Durham University, United Kingdom. This form of ecumenism calls Christian churches to a deep level of reflection on aspects of other churches that may

be a learning opportunity for their own communities. This is not just a form of ecumenical dialogue, but a way of living the mission of the church. It is a way of churches reflecting and learning from each other, that values the strengths of each, but also calls them to represent their own faith in a real and accurate way. Deacon Josh Clayton

Colourful surprise at Mass


eing invited to the Altar to receive a bunch of flowers from Parish Priest, Fr Carl Mackander, at the conclusion of Mass recently, certainly caught Katherine Southwell off guard.

Katherine has served as one of the parish secretaries in Wellington Parish for nine years and recently decided to ‘call it a day’, retiring from her position. Fr Carl thanked Katherine, noting her valued contribution to the administrative work of the Parish. John Southwell Katherine Southwell with Rene Hannell

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Profile for Catholic Diocese of Bathurst

Catholic Observer, December 2017  

The quarterly publication of the Catholic Diocese of Bathurst

Catholic Observer, December 2017  

The quarterly publication of the Catholic Diocese of Bathurst

Profile for diobxobs