Page 1

Volume 56, No 4 DECEMBER 2020 $2.00

Includes Bishop McKenna’s Pastoral Letter



hen I wrote last year’s Christmas message, we were still in a time of drought, waiting for rain. Since then, thank God, the rains have come and we rejoice in the growth that we see around us. Full recovery from the losses that our farmers and communities suffered will take longer and we must continue to look out for one another, but we are on our way. Now, we are in a time of pandemic, waiting for a stubborn virus to go away. In Australia and here in our own Diocese, we have not been as badly hit as other regions and other countries. But we have all been affected here, some of us greatly. Again, it has evoked a good spirit of caring for one another, which we hope will continue. Christmas celebrations this year will not be quite the same, particularly in our churches, where restrictions still apply. It will be a demanding time, especially for our priests, who will be offering extra Masses to ensure that as many people as possible can celebrate the birth of the Christ child worthily. It is a good time to give thanks for our priests, who have quietly and steadfastly shown their pastoral hearts throughout this difficult year. May the knowledge that the Son of God has entered our troubled world, to conduct us to the new creation, fill your hearts and minds with the faith, hope and love he wants to share with you here and now. +Michael McKenna

“Hold Me Close” by Alayna Haque, Year 6, St John’s Primary School, Dubbo Bishop of Bathurst

Our Front Cover: “A Mother’s Miracle


he beautiful image on the front cover of the Christmas edition of the Catholic Observer is entitled ‘A Mother’s Miracle’ by Isaac Ostini, Year 6 student from St Joseph’s Primary School, Molong.

wondered what this meant. But through the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary was given the strength to fulfil this special miracle. Mary was an ordinary woman who placed her trust completely in God. I believe that through her life, we see the great blessings that can come to us when we believe and trust in God’s way.

Isaac entered his art work in the 2020 Christmas Art Story Exhibition and Competition and was awarded the Catholic Observer Award as well as First Prize in the Year 6 category. Isaac’s work is now part of the Christmas Story Art Exhibition in Sydney, where it was awarded Highly Commended in the Year 6 category amongst entries from the Archdiocese of Sydney and Diocese of Wollongong. As part of the competition, each entry was based on a Scripture passage and the student includes a reflection about their work. Isaac’s

reflection is below: My artwork is based on the Annunciation and I wanted to create a wonderful, vibrant image that brings a message of joy and peace. Mary was told by the Angel Gabriel that she would conceive and bear a son. He would be called Son of the Most High. Mary was at first perplexed by these words and

The flowers with an orange and red centre represent the Holy Spirit. The white and purple colours represent the brightness of day and the delight and serenity that Mary felt when she trusted in God and believed in her heart. I have painted Mary in different shades of blue symbolising her wisdom and faith. The gold halo around Mary represents the holiness of God’s message. The background shows heaven opening up and the striking light rays shine towards Mary as a sign of great joy as she will soon give birth to Jesus. My painting also symbolises trust, loyalty and truth, all of which Mary demonstrated. I hope it makes people feel joyous and peaceful when they think about this wonderful time.

Page 2 • December 2020 • 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

Isaac Ostini

Bishop’s parish visits


n a ‘normal’ year, Bishop McKenna would be a regular visitor to parishes, Eucharistic communities and schools across the Diocese. This year, the pandemic curtailed his usual plans, however between October and December, he was delighted to have the opportunity to re-connect in person with people in each of our 17 parishes. The Bishop made parish visits, during which he celebrated Mass and met with members of pastoral and finance councils and school principals, as well as those involved in Word and Faith groups in the Diocese. Bishop Michael used the visits to discuss with the various communities what had been learnt over this past year, when so much change was forced on our communities; and what a post-COVID future might look like: not merely one returning to the old normal, but possibly one with new ways of seeing, judging and acting.

Bishop Michael with parishioners at Gulgong

The Bishop said he was heartened to meet with “the priests and people who have kept our parishes going through the trials of 2020 and to have found among them the joyful hope that is a fruit of fidelity”.

Fiona Lewis

Fr Owen Gibbons, Mrs Angela Myles and Bishop Michael at Mudgee

Bishop Michael is greeted by parishioners in Lithgow

Parishioners of the Portland Parish meeting with the Bishop

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 2020 • Page 3

2020 Chrism Mass and Jubilee celebrations


he Chrism Mass was celebrated on Monday 19th October, postponed from April, due to COVID-19. Given the Cathedral is currently closed for renovations, Bishop Michael and the priests of the Diocese gathered at St Brigid’s Church, Dubbo to concelebrate the Mass and renew their priestly commitment. During this Mass, the Oils of Catechumens and the Sick were blessed and the Chrism Oil was consecrated. These are the oils that will be used in the coming year.

Bishop Michael and the priests then attended a celebration dinner to mark priestly jubilees, including Fr Parish of Bathurst. Fr Pat also Pat Ruane’s 60th anniversary spent seven years ministering since being ordained a priest. in Papua New Guinea. Fr Pat was ordained on 19th Fr Pat retired in 2018 and June, 1960, by Bishop Scanlon now resides in Bathurst. of Honolulu, at All Hallows Congratulations Fr Pat, and College, Dublin. He arrived thank you for your devotion in the Diocese of Bathurst and care of the the people of on 3rd December 1960. He the Diocese of Bathurst for has had numerous postings the past 60 years. May God across the Diocese including bless you abundantly. Canowindra, Gilgandra, Orange, Coonamble, Dubbo, Kimbalee Clews Cowra and the Cathedral

The consecration of the Oil of Chrism

Priests of the Diocese of Bathurst gather for the Chrism Mass

Fr Pat Ruane celebrated his 60th Jubilee with Bishop Michael

Page 4 • December 2020 • 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

Ha admitted as Lector


ishop Michael McKenna admitted Ha Van Tran to the Ministry of Lector at Mass in St Raphael’s Church, Cowra on Saturday 3rd October 2020.

As part of the long journey of discernment and formation before ordination, seminarians make three important steps: Admission as Acolyte, Lector and as a Candidate for Ordination. 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 our congratulations to Ha and ask for your continued prayers for him as he marks this important milestone. Fiona Lewis Ha Van Tran

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Papal Knighthood for Tony Eviston


n 11th November, at the Chancery Office in Bathurst, Bishop Michael McKenna presented Mr Anthony Eviston with a Papal Award. At Bishop McKenna’s request and recommendation, the Holy Father made Tony a Knight of the Order of St Gregory the Great (originally founded by Pope Gregory XVI in 1831). The Bishop petitioned Pope Francis last year, before Tony’s retirement as Chancellor, citing his outstanding loyalty and service to our local church, and also to the wider community over many years. In his recommendation, Bishop McKenna acknowledged the work Tony had done in Diocesan administration for over 32 years in his various roles, as well as his many and varied charitable endeavours.

Tony Eviston with Bishop Michael

The Pope granted the Bishop’s request earlier this year, however the COVID pandemic required a postponement of the presentation until now. In his request to the Pontiff, Bishop McKenna described Tony as “a quiet and deeply religious man… who has the full trust of the Diocese’s priests, religious and laity; as a sure leader, a competent guide and a most trustworthy person who has the good of the Church and the progress of its mission foremost in his priorities.” Fiona Lewis

Bishop Michael, Tony, his family and friends from the Chancery

Deacons’ Retreat


etreats are a wonderful time to be able to refocus and realign our lives with God. For many, the Church mandates that a retreat must occur each year. This is the case for the clergy. This year, the Vocational Deacons of the Diocese of Bathurst held their retreat at The Vale Lodge, Perthville. Fr Ed Travers msc facilitated a five-day retreat for deacons of the Diocese, focusing on the letter of St Paul to the Romans. This retreat gave insight and input to each of the deacons and enabled them to go deeper into St Paul’s writing, as well as our own faith. It was a blessed time for all and thanks must go to Fr Ed as well as Vicki and Sr Mary from the Vale Lodge. Deacon Josh Clayton

Deacons Josh Clayton, Charles Applin, Mike Williams and Terry Mahony with Fr Ed Travers (center)

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ith this year of extraordinary circumstances almost at its end, it is comforting to know that Advent is still a time of preparation for the birth of Jesus at Christmas. It is a time to stop and think about what each of Sunday’s readings mean, and how we can spiritually prepare for this beautiful time of the year. Throughout Advent, the Diocese will facilitate online Word and Faith gatherings, called Word&Faith@home. The aim of these is to allow each of us to enter into the readings for each

Sunday’s Mass, spend some time of reflection and have a short interaction with others about what the readings mean to you. We will then hear from Bishop Michael, who will offer commentary on the scriptures for the week. Word&Faith@home will take place several times a week throughout Advent, via Zoom, and take around 30 minutes. It commenced on 25th November and runs on Wednesdays at 7:00pm, Fridays at 11:00am and Saturdays at 2:00pm.

Everyone is welcome to take part in these gatherings, which will focus on the upcoming Sunday’s readings. Use the QR Code to join the sessions or go to: https://bthcatholic.zoom. us/j/4582615130 For more information, contact Deacon Josh Clayton on 0458 261 513.

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St Mary’s Church, Orange re-opens


he evening of 27th November was a significant moment of joy for the community of St Mary’s and St Joseph’s Parish, Orange with the reopening of St Mary’s Church. The St Mary’s Renewal Project has taken almost two years, from the first discussions and community input, up to the re-opening Mass held at the end of November. Parish Priest, Father Greg Bellamy, said it was the first major upgrade the building has had since it was constructed in 1988. “After many years of use, the main body of St Mary’s had suffered from a lot of wear and tear and the building had condensation issues in the windows, severe water damage in the ceiling, perished carpet, non-functional shutters, and a deteriorating audio-visual system”. “The renovations have also expanded the musicians’ and choir area. An important priority is the redesign of previously enclosed spaces to ensure they meet contemporary professional standards requirements,” he said.

The newly restored St Mary’s Church, Orange

The front of the Church has been transformed into an enclosed gathering space. “This is an important addition for a community located in a cold climate like Orange,” explained Fr Greg. “This space will allow groups to gather during the week, as well as providing a space for welcoming and hospitality before and after Masses, funerals, and weddings”. The large windows of the gathering space provide views of Orange, given the church’s elevated position, and the landscaping includes a drop-off area next to the church for the elderly and disabled. In the past 18 months, there’s very little inside or outside of St Mary’s that hasn’t been restored or replaced entirely. Even the large hanging crucifix suspended above the Altar was polished and oiled until it glistened like new. “This project is a symbol of our parish’s vision for growth and vitality into the future. A new welcoming space that is warm, multi-functional and modern will be a great asset to the Catholic community in Orange for decades to come,” said Fr Greg. The evening was limited to a congregation of 300 people due COVID restrictions. Bishop Michael McKenna celebrated the Mass with Parish Priest, Fr Greg Bellamy concelebrating alongside the clergy of the Orange parish and a number of priests from across the Diocese. Bishop

Bishop Michael addresses those gathered for the re-opening Liturgy Michael blessed the Church and those in the good work they have started”. attendance. Fr Greg thanked the many people who Fr Greg said the evening was also an have worked hard to realise this project. opportunity to acknowledge and give “In particular, I would like to thank thanks to God for the past generations Bishop Michael for his blessing and of Catholics, and their priests, who have support of the project. Likewise, thank worshiped and worked in this building you to the priests and seminarians since its original opening in 1988, and present this evening. Thank you to before that at the original St Mary’s from our Parish Finance Council and the 1926. St Mary’s Renewal Committee and to “We are here today because of the faith, all our parish staff. And most of all, the sacrifices and the enthusiasm of thanks to all the parishioners of St those who have gone before us. May Mary’s for your support, patience, and we be worthy of the heritage they have enthusiasm”. Kimbalee Clews bequeathed to us and may we continue

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Bishop’s Christmas Appeal supporting learning, evangelisation and opportunity


ach year, the annual Bishop’s Special Missionary Appeal is held at Christmas Masses across the Diocese, with the proceeds going to overseas mission projects. From 2015 to 2019, the proceeds went to the construction St Paul’s Catholic School, Sanis, Nagaland in Northern India. This year, a relationship has been formed between the Diocese of Bathurst and the St Joseph’s Parish and Primary School precinct, Bongaon, West Bengal, Archdiocese of Calcutta, India. St Joseph’s Parish, Bongaon, is situated on India’s eastern border with Bangladesh. It is a populous region and the parish’s pastoral outreach extends to distant faith communities. St Joseph’s Primary School caters for children from Nursery and Kindergarten to Year 4, and is conducted by the Apostolic Carmel Sisters (AC). The current enrolment is just over 500, with a teaching staff of 15. The AC Convent comprises three religious sisters, including the school principal. Education remains a tool for evangelisation throughout India and Catholic schools conducted by religious congregations are

Students from St Joseph’s Primary School, Bongaon very highly regarded in a pluralist society. areas for the purposes of administration, staff room, multi-purpose learning areas, The Bishop’s Special Christmas Appeal computer rooms, interview room, library will support the vision of St Joseph’s, and stairwells. Bongaon to expand the current Catholic primary school, by staged developments, There will be an opportunity to share to a Year 6 facility by 2021 and then to the spirit of Christmas and help bring Year 12 by 2028. this project to fruition at all Christmas Masses across the Diocese. You can also The plan involves the expansion of the donate to the Bishop’s Special Christmas primary school area and new secondary Missionary Appeal via the Diocesan school buildings to provide 32 new website at bathurst.catholic.org.au classrooms. In addition, there will be the equivalent of a further 20 classroom Kimbalee Clews

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catholicmission.org.au/cambodia 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 2020 • Page 9

Fratelli Tutti


ope Francis’ third Encyclical Letter, Fratelli Tutti, was published on the Feast of St Francis of Assisi on 4th October 2020. The Holy Father celebrated Mass at the tomb of St Francis in the crypt of the Basilica of St Francis in Assisi, Italy, on 3rd October and signed his new encyclical at the end of the Mass. The encyclical reflects upon the challenges facing the world during the COVID-19 pandemic and calls for a new culture of fraternity and dialogue. Fratelli Tutti is inspired by Saint Francis of Assisi and is a proposal for a way of life marked by the flavour of the Gospel. The letter is based on questions about fraternity and social friendship that have concerned the Pope in recent years. The Encyclical draws on themes of the Document on Human Fraternity Pope Francis celebrated Mass at the tomb of St Francis in the crypt of the Basilica of St Francis in Assisi (CNS photo/Vatican Media) for World Peace and Living Together, which the Pope signed jointly with to recognising and loving every person Fratelli Tutti is available to read on the the Grand Imam Ahmad Al-Tayyeb in with a love without borders; it is a call Diocesan website: bathurst.catholic. February 2019. to encounter others in a way that is org.au It is a call to love others as brothers capable of overcoming all distance and and sisters, even when they are far every temptation to engage in disputes, Fiona Lewis from us; it is a call to open fraternity, impositions, or submissions.

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: pp.wellington@cdob.org.au or Fr Reynold Jaboneta: pp.coonabarabran@cdob.org.au Page 10 • December 2020 • 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 complete formal accreditation


ver the past year, the five youth ministers within the Diocese have completed Catholic Schools Youth Ministry International’s (CSYMI) formal accreditation for youth ministers through the Signum Fidei program. The program consists of three modules, giving an understanding of faith formation within the Catholic tradition, with a focus on evangelisation and its practical application to a Catholic school.

Signum Fidei involved three assessment tasks that encouraged active involvement in our community’s faith life, and three online tutorials that aimed to ensure we were supported and educated whilst completing the tasks. One task in particular gave us, as youth ministers, the opportunity to create a lesson that could be put into practice in our schools. Whilst completing this task, we were forced to reflect on our faith and on a core component of Signum Fidei, evangelisation.

Matthew Brown, Youth Minister at James Sheahan Catholic High School, Orange shares his experience of the program: The CSYMI Signum Fidei program has assisted greatly during my year of youth ministry. The course helped develop essential skills that have benefited me and my students as the Youth Minister at James Sheahan Catholic High School in the Orange Parish, and will continue to benefit me in the years to come.

Youth ministry in action Matthew Brown leading a reflection day earlier in the year

Overall, the course has been very rewarding and I am glad to have completed it successfully. By challenging me in practical ways within my roles as Youth Minister, Signum Fidei has enabled me to work to the best of my ability and to make my time in the role worthwhile. Matthew Brown

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Restoration of the St Michael’s


ork is gaining great momentum at the Cathedral of St Michael and St John, with much progress made in the past several months. External Works: The Keppel Street palisade fence has been straightened, following the removal of the extensive tree roots that were pushing the base sandstones out onto the footpath. The fence has been rubbed back, primed and given all but a final coat of black paint – which will be applied once all of the landscape works are completed.

The Keppel Street side of the Cathedral has had the brick pillars rebuilt and the original sandstone caps are being reattached. The concrete stairs have been laid and await the sandstone that will be attached to the concrete for the final surface. The large sandstone blocks that continue down Keppel Street and around into William Street are in place and look very impressive. The concrete steps and pillars in William Street are in place and work is about to commence on the entry platform the new door. The new entrance door to the Cathedral has been cut into the existing wall which use to be the wall of the Cathedral Gift Shop on the carpark side. The engineered steel is in place in the doorway, with the next step being the construction of the doorway with the required stone and masonry. The William Street car park entrance has been created and the car park concrete kerb is in place. Formwork is ready in the car park for the areas that will be paved with dark pavers, which are to be laid on a concrete slab base. Much of the concrete around the carpark side and rear sides of the Cathedral is complete and paving has started to be laid. Page 12 • December 2020 • 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

and St John’s close to completion Between the concrete and the Cathedral walls is a gap which will be paved with porous paving, to allow for the egress of any moisture from the masonry of the Cathedral. Finally, the retaining walls and the sitting wall and ramp are in place, with the sandstone capping being attached to the sitting wall at the rear, and adjacent to the Mary MacKillop statue. Internal Works The lighting is all installed within the Cathedral and the painting of the interior of the Cathedral has commenced, with work completed in the Sanctuary and the Nave. The contractors are currently working on the side aisles and upstairs choir loft, with the painting expected to be completed by mid-December. It is planned that the construction of the new Sanctuary will commence in February 2021 and it is hoped that this will include the removal of the beam sits above the front of the Nave.

Kimbalee Clews


PAR TNERS 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: cathedralrestoration@bathurst.catholic.org.au Online: cathedralappealbathurst.org.au 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 • December 2020 • Page 13

Members of the Ministry Formation Program re-unite


ecently, the graduates of the Ministry Formation Program (MFP) gathered at St Joseph’s Heritage Centre, Perthville, for a time of sharing, prayer and input. The group, who started out as strangers, have become lifelong friends through the formation program initiated by Bishop Michael McKenna. The MFP intended to prepare aspirants to serve in diverse ministries in the Diocese of Bathurst and was made possible by the support of Tony Eviston, Deacon Josh Clayton and Sr Mary Comer rsj. Dorothy and Bradly Baker attended the reunion, which they said they both thoroughly enjoyed. “The scripture Rosary session was particularly well received. Worshipping with the musical harps was very special”, Bradley said. Margaret Dunnachie from Mudgee, said that completing the MFP has opened up many new opportunities for her. “One of the course topics of the MFP, among many others, was an Introduction to Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). Taught by Carmen Karauda, this unit edified my mind and opened up my heart to enhance my studies by enrolling in a Chaplaincy, Pastoral and Spiritual Care course. Now completed, this course will enable me to provide emotional, pastoral, palliative and spiritual care and comfort to those less fortunate”, Margaret said. As part of the MFP formation, a number of the participants completed a Graduate Certificate in Theology from the Australian Catholic University. Recently the graduates presented with their certificates.

Margaret Dunnachie and Kristie Newman at St Mary’s Church Mudgee, after being presented with their Certificates in Theology

Peta Leesberg, one of the graduates of the program, said “It feels wonderful to have a Graduate Certificate in Theological Studies that fully recognises what we have achieved in the past two years completing the MFP”. “The reunion weekend was important as it allowed us to come together and share in each other’s company again and renew our friendships through a combination of prayer, yoga, rosary and conversation”, she said.  Jacinta Thatcher

Members of the MFP at the reunion weekend

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Centacare’s Family Dispute Resolution/Mediation


ave you and your partner separated and, so far, not been able to work out a plan for how much time you are each going to spend with your children, and/or how you divide your jointly held assets in a way that is fair to each of you? This can be a difficult and unpleasant process, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Family dispute resolution/mediation is offered to anyone who wishes to address post-separation issues such as parenting and financial settlement. It involves both parties, with the assistance of two neutral and impartial facilitators, entering into a respectful and complete discussion as to what each of you are seeking, in the best interests of your children. Or alternatively, in the case of property settlement, what is a fair and equitable division of your jointly held assets. Mediation gives you the opportunity to look forward and a sense of ownership about your current situation. It is safe, flexible, less alienating and less expensive than involving the courts. Furthermore, it is a process that need only take weeks to complete, rather than months, as with the court process. Key features of mediation include: •

Each parent or party is seen individually by a fully accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (FDRP) to assess suitability, issues to be resolved, and to prepare the parent for childfocused interventions. Strategies to protect children from the negative impact sometimes

entrenched in parental conflict will There is nothing to fear about mediation. also be discussed. It is, at all times, a voluntary process; you can’t be ‘ambushed’. And whilst it is not If suitability and readiness are always successful, it often is. established, joint sessions facilitated by two FRDPs will be organised. Centacare Bathurst is the Diocese of These sessions may be adjusted Bathurst’s social service agency and and designed to meet the needs and provides a highly ethical and confidential mediation service. Centacare is approved circumstances of both parents. and funded by the Federal Attorney Child consultation by a trained General’s Department to provide family psychologist is offered where law services such as family dispute resolution/mediation and family law necessary and appropriate. counselling. If parents reach an agreement, this will be drawn up as a Memorandum For more information about Centacare’s of Understanding or a Parenting Family Mediation Service, contact Plan. Parents may choose to Centacare Bathurst on 6331 8944 convert the terms of any agreement or Dubbo on 6885 0277, or email into Consent Orders through the mediation@centacarebathurst.com.au. court, with the assistance of their Mark Worthington solicitors.

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 • September 2020 • Page 15

Heritage award recognises decades of work by Sisters of Mercy


he Sisters of Mercy have been acknowledged for their preservation of Logan Brae, a building that has stood in Bathurst for more than 140 years. The Bathurst branch of the National Trust presented the Sisters with a heritage award on 28th November for the work the Sisters of Mercy have done to maintain the building. Logan Brae  was designed by local architect Edward Gell in 1875, for John Busby, a local solicitor and banker, and was completed in 1877-78 by builder David Jones.

Sister Patricia Powell and the Sisters of Mercy receiving the award from In 1896, five years after Mr Iain McPherson and members of the National Trust. Photo by Rachel Chamberlain Busby’s death, the property was sold to a Mrs Smith and administration centre, for the and restored in 2019. endeavoured to bring culture leased as accommodation Bathurst congregation. and appreciation of heritage”, for students of the Bathurst Speaking on behalf of the she said. The building has been Sisters of Mercy, Sister Experiment Farm. beautifully preserved, Patricia Powell thanked “... to have the National In 1909, the Hon. John largely at the expense of the the National Trust for its Trust appreciate the care we Meagher KCSG, MLC of Sisters of Mercy, and works have given to Logan Brae is Bathurst, bought Logan over the years include the acknowledgement. very satisfying and much Brae for the Sisters of Mercy. restoration of original brick “Part of what we have appreciated”. It was renamed St Joseph’s lined underground tanks in endeavoured to bring to Rachel Chamberlain Mount and became a 2008; and a section of the the Central West, as well Courtesy of the novitiate and teacher front verandah, roofing and as education, healthcare Western Advocate training facility, as well as the guttering was maintained and social work, we’ve

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: observer@bathurst.catholic.org.au


Editor ~ Fiona Lewis Communications Coordinator ~ 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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Catholic Mission Expo 2020 at JSCHS


RANGE: On 5th November, James Sheahan Catholic High School (JSCHS) Year 8 students and their Religious Education teachers held the annual Catholic Mission Expo, which recognises the work of Catholic Mission in the focus country for the year. The Expo looked a little different this year in light of the many COVID-19 restrictions in place and students were unable to go about their normal fundraising initiatives. Instead, they focused on ‘education and learning’ about the work of the Church in Cambodia, including the specific work of Bishop Kike and the Arrupe Centre which supports children with disabilities in Battambang. Year 8 students learnt that Cambodia has one of the highest rates of amputees in the world, due to the millions of landmines that were placed around the countryside in its war-torn past. They also learnt about the presence of polio in Cambodians and the problems of access to clean water. Our focus was about ‘starting a conversation’ to share knowledge and to learn from each other. In this spirit, Year 8 Religious Education classes created informative displays to start the conversation around the School about Cambodia and Catholic Mission. These included a Cambodia display wall, an open hands display representing how we are the hands of Christ in the world, and a ‘heroRATs’ display which commemorated the incredible work of the African giant pouched rats in detecting unexploded landmines in Cambodia. A display of crucifixes depicting Christ as an amputee represented the link between his suffering and that of many Cambodians disabled by landmines; this crucifix is unique to Cambodia.

Bishop McKenna leading the Catholic Mission Expo Liturgy

Viewing the Amputee Crucifix display

A special highlight of the week was the Mission Expo Liturgy with Bishop Michael McKenna; Fr Greg Bellamy, Parish Priest; and Mr Michael Deasy, Catholic Mission’s Diocesan Director. The focus space contained symbols of the struggles faced by the Khmer people and Gospel from Luke told of Jesus healing the paralyzed man. Bishop Michael noted how lucky the paralysed man was to have his friends who brought him to Jesus to be forgiven and healed, and reinforced that we need to be these people in reaching out to those in need. Through their Liturgy, learning in class, Socktober fundraising initiative and class displays, Year 8 students have shown that they stand in solidarity with the Cambodian people, by bringing comfort and hope to those who are in need of healing, in body or spirit. Belinda Lee, Susan Cameron and the Year 8 Religious Education teachers: Lisa Ford, Prudence Walker, Thomas Fennell and Jasmine Pina

Year 8 students with Bishop Michael McKenna, Fr Greg Bellamy and Mr Michael Deasy

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 2020 • Page 17

Farewell Mr Melville


TANNIES NEWS: He has helped shape the lives of literally thousands of young men who have walked the halls of St Stanislaus’ College, but after 32 years with the School, Geoff Melville is calling it a day. Currently the Deputy Head of College, Mr Melville has been appointed to the position of Assistant Principal at St Paul’s College, Kempsey, a secondary school catering for young men and women from Years 7-12. Mr Melville, or ‘Sir’, as he is acknowledged with a nod from students in the quadrangle, began his teaching career at the College straight from university. He loved the school so much he never left. “I’d just finished at UNE when we came here, so I’ve only had the one employer”, he laughed as he reflected on his tenure. He, along with his wife Therese, a chartered accountant in Bathurst, have always planned the move north. Therese’s family are based in Kempsey and own property there. Reflecting on his time at Stannies, he said he has seen many changes. His first position saw him teaching agriculture and when he arrived at the School, its farm had no fences. “I was the first ag teacher here, but I had really great support from the parents and the department was developed. Fences were installed and a cattle and sheep stud was established, with the school going on to show at both metropolitan and local shows”, he said.

Deputy Head of College, Mr Geoff Melville every day, and every role at the School. including its leadership team and the “I do love it here, I love the boys, I think priests he has worked with. they are genuine and compassionate and “Being here has been a wonderful think of others”, he said. vocation for me. I’ve met Vincentian “There is a great spirit within the school, priests who have changed my life”. as a Vincentian School it really embraces “And Lindsay Luck is an outstanding the support of others.” appointment for the school, he really He said that spirit is across all things the understands boys’ education, and the students are involved in, and he sees the school has thrived under his leadership”. boys growing into really good, young Mr Melville said he was thankful to the men with incredible respect for others. school which had given him such amazing He also said the staff he has worked with opportunities, including coaching union over the last 30 plus years have been at an Australian Schoolboys level. beautiful. “The staff are incredible,” he But he said it was time to move on. said. “I’ve been supported incredibly well by “My two boys were here, so I’ve seen the my wife, the Vincentians, the Stannies College as both a staff member and as a community, staff, students, parents and parent, I’ve lived the experience. I’m also Old Boys. My time here really has been really proud of the results that come from an incredible joy”, he said. the School”.

His career progressed and in 1998, he was promoted to the Head of Science within the School. In 2000, he was Senior Admin Co-ordinator, and in 2002, Head of Curriculum. In 2017 he was appointed While Mr Melville is sad to leave, he to Deputy Head of College. said he is leaving on a high. He said he Mr Melville said he has genuinely loved will miss many things about the School,

Story and photo by Jacinta Carroll Courtesy of the Western Advocate,


10am College Tour | 11am Join us for a cuppa

To register: Phone 6331 4177, email registrar@stannies.com or via web stannies.com


220 Bentinck Street Bathurst NSW 2795 | Phone: 02 6331 4177 | Fax: 02 6334 4285 Page 18 • December 2020 • 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




Dear Friends in Christ,


am writing this year’s pastoral letter midway through a visitation of each of the seventeen parishes that make up the Diocese of Bathurst. In a normal year, I would have visited, at least once, every parish and many of the Eucharistic communities that comprise them; as well as a large number of our schools. However, this has not been a normal year. So, now that we can (and while we can), it was important to re-connect in person. The wisest word about the experience of this past year is that we should use the slowdown to evaluate more deeply what we have been accustomed to practise; and to take the opportunity to envisage a post Covid future that is not merely a return to the old normal, but a turn to new ways of seeing, judging and acting. It has been heartening to meet with the priests and people who have kept our parishes going through the trials of 2020 and to have found among them the joyful hope that is a fruit of fidelity. As one parishioner in Gulgong said, “This year my faith has been tested - and strengthened.” He gave great witness to the promise expressed by St Peter: “This is a great joy to you, even though for a short time yet you must bear all sorts of trials; so that the worth of your faith, more valuable than gold, which is perishable even if it has been tested by fire, may be proved - to your praise and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Pt 1:6-7; cf 1Cor 3:13)

In each parish, we have celebrated Mass and prayed together as far as current restrictions allowed. Although it has not been possible to meet everyone, the Parish Priest in every place has gathered members of the pastoral council and finance committee, along with the school principals, to share our stories of the year that has been and our hopes for next year and the years to come. In parishes blessed with Word and Faith groups, I have had valuable time with them, too: these small groups are truly mustard seeds which, in the coming year, we will nurture to grow into a large plant. (Mk 4:30-32) 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 2020 • Page 19

Mission and Maintenance


hen I was named as Bishop of Bathurst, in Easter Week of 2009, the priests of the Diocese were due to gather in Mudgee, so I went there to meet them. The first thing that one of them asked me was “Are you a mission man or a maintenance man?” I answered “Both, I hope.” To launch and sustain the work of mission, we need the practicalities of a base to operate from. But we have to take care that the necessary work of maintenance does not become an end in itself, that we do not lose sight of the mission we are here to serve. That mission is to make Jesus Christ known, and help people to come to him, as we bear witness that he is alive in the community that bears his name. To help, not hinder. Both Mark’s and Luke’s Gospels tell the instructive story of the paralysed man whose friends carry him on a stretcher to be healed by Jesus, but cannot get in because “there was no more room, even at the door” (Mk 2:2). The persevering and resourceful friends open up the roof and lower the stretcher down to Jesus from there. Not everyone has such friends: as church communities, do we make it easier or harder for people to come close to their Saviour? And how persevering and resourceful are we in helping people to meet him?

When mission looks like maintenance


ometimes, it is not easy to distinguish mission from maintenance. Mission is not always spectacular or innovative, but it is always faithful to what God wants. I learnt about a great example of this in Vietnam, when I presided at the funeral of an old man in Nghe An who had been a catechist during the days of heavy persecution of the Church there, more than half a century ago. The priests and religious had been driven away, some imprisoned, some killed. This quietly heroic farmer was the head catechist in his parish and found himself left in charge. Every morning, he opened the church and rang the bell, to gather the people for prayer; every evening, he rang the bell again, gathered the people, and afterwards closed the church for the night. He and his fellow catechists did their best to give the children basic religious instruction; and, whenever he heard there was a priest travelling nearby, he got word around so that people could come to Mass and celebrate the other sacraments. It looked like routine, and so it was, but it was certainly mission. God does not measure success the way the world does: he measures according to how faithful we are to his call and promise, especially when we cannot see instant results.

Page 20 • December 2020 • 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

We rang the bell, but no-one came


here is a haunting parable that Jesus tells in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke:

“But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to their playmates, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’” (Mt 11:16-17; cf Lk 7:31-32) Pandemic or no pandemic, we know that the numbers of Catholics in our parishes who regularly come to Mass has been falling. Those who have stopped attending because of old age, or because they are now celebrating the Eucharist in eternity, have not been replaced on the same scale with younger parishioners. We see the same decline in the numbers supporting their local church with voluntary service and financially. We should not focus on these numbers as if they were an end in themselves; but we should pay attention to what they may say about how well we are living our mission. The Bishop Emeritus of Darwin, Eugene Hurley, used to tell a story of his days as a young priest in the Diocese of Port Pirie. He got to know one of the Protestant ministers in town and asked him one day why his church celebrated Holy Communion so infrequently. The minister explained that it was because his congregation did not share the same beliefs in the Eucharist that Catholics had. “I know that you believe that Jesus Christ is truly present in the Mass. I don’t believe that, but if I did, I’d crawl over broken glass to get to it.” This story reminds us that, as Catholics, we can be very casual and neglectful of this great gift, despite what we profess to believe about it. And, if we are honest, those of us responsible for teaching the Catholic faith must admit that we have not done a great job of communicating to our people and children the fullness and depth of all that the Holy Mass really is. But I have also reflected on something more to the story. The minister would not have said those words unless Jesus Christ meant a lot to him. Once again, we are brought back to the true focus of our mission: to make Jesus known, to help people meet him, to grow in knowledge and love of him together as a community of Word, Sacrament and Service.

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 2020 • Page 21

Lord, this is the People who longs to see your face


arly on in my journey around the parishes, I was reflecting on the readings for the following day’s Mass, and was struck by the response to the Psalm: Lord, this is the People that longs to see your face.

It made me think first of the people across our Diocese who are drawn together in each Eucharistic community in our parishes by exactly that longing: to see God’s face. But we do not come together only to benefit ourselves. The people we live among, whether or not they might think it or say it, have all been created in love by God and, deep in their being, long to see his face. And it is our mission to be the Church who shows Christ’s face to this world. Early next year, our Cathedral of St Michael and St John will reopen after years of careful repair and renewal. The oldest Catholic cathedral in New South Wales (and the second oldest in the Commonwealth) will again be a tangible symbol, for all to see, of the faith community that built and has restored it. A church building is not the Church, but it is a visible witness to the world, of the people who dedicate it to God and worship him there. The demanding work of renewing the Cathedral will soon be completed. The work that it symbolises - the renewal of our community of faith - will take longer: in fact, it will not be completed until Christ comes again. But, let us ask the Holy Spirit to teach us each day how to be persevering and resourceful, remembering that the only true measure of our success will be our fidelity to God’s will. +Michael McKenna Bishop of Bathurst Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica 2020

Page 22 • December 2020 • 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

Reflections on an extraordinary year


ho could possibly have imagined when 2020 began, that we would experience a global pandemic the repercussions of which will be long lasting?

COVID has affected the lives of our families and the running of our schools. In addition to the brief period of remote learning, our schools have had increased responsibility for the sanitising of school facilities and instilling good hygiene habits in order to be COVID safe environments. Schools are ready to close should they have a student diagnosed with COVID-19 and all secondary schools had an alternative site to move to during the HSC, should it be required. Excursions were put on hold, overnight camps banned, competition sport was cancelled, choirs and bands were silenced and even graduations were only allowed in a limited form. Gradually, some of these restrictions have been lifted and life has a more normal appearance for our students and staff during Term 4.

I know many parents have found this very challenging and I thank them for their understanding.

Schools have found creative solutions to these issues such as video conferencing parent teacher interviews, live streaming graduation events and even running virtual orientation events for 2021 students. It has become essential for us to focus on the positive outcomes of many of the changes that have taken place and to learn from these experiences how we might refine our processes and events in the future. It certainly has focussed our attention on what really matters in school, in our parishes and the community.

Amidst the pandemic, Pope Francis has written a new encyclical, published on 4th October, the Feast of St Francis of Assisi, called Fratelli Tutti (Brothers All). It is so relevant to the time we find ourselves in. One cannot but notice that the initial bonding brought about by the shared experience of pandemic lockdown has been Early in the pandemic, lost, and replaced by panic many of our key events were buying, protests, violence and abandoned, but we have all isolationism. learned to use technology to allow us to continue to Pope Francis explains function effectively. Our youth that COVID-19, which events such as Rise and iRise “unexpectedly erupted” have been delivered virtually. as he was writing the encyclical, underlined the Teachers could not meet as a “fragmentation” and the whole staff and professional “inability” of countries to learning was only able to be work together. He speaks delivered by Zoom, resulting against increasing wealth in much less time travelling to inequalities, calls for women professional learning. to possess “the same dignity One very challenging element and identical rights as men” of the regulations has been the and draws attention to the requirement that parents are scourge of human trafficking, not to be on school premises. “war, terrorist attacks, racial

which you have navigated this challenging year. We wish you The Pope offers us the role God’s every blessing on your model of St Francis, who future endeavours. sowed seeds of peace and walked alongside the poor, Retiring principals the abandoned, the infirm A number of principals will and the outcast: the least of be retiring at the conclusion his brothers and sisters. He of 2020. We appreciate their underlines the importance commitment and dedication of the “miracle of kindness,” over many years of service “true dialogue” and the “art to our diocesan system of of encounter.” He states that schools. They are: Mrs Kerry peace is dependent on truth, Morris, St John’s College justice and mercy. Dubbo; Mrs Kerry Maher, Pope Francis proclaims: “Let St Mary’s Catholic Primary us dream, then, as a single School, Orange; Mrs Louise St Philomena’s human family, as fellow Davies, travellers sharing the same Catholic Primary School, flesh, as children of the same Bathurst and Mrs Sue Kearns, earth which is our common St Joseph’s Catholic Primary home, each of us bringing the School, Portland. I wish them richness of his or her beliefs good health and happiness as and convictions, each of us they move into the next stage with his or her own voice, of their life. brothers and sisters all.” May the road rise up to meet Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we you. all took up the challenge laid May the wind be always at down for us by Pope Francis your back. to bring the spirit of Fratelli May the sun shine warm upon Tutti to life? your face; The rains fall soft upon your Class of 2020 fields and until we meet again; I would like to congratulate all of our Year 12 graduates on May God hold you in the palm their successful completion of his hand. of 13 years of education. We Christina Trimble are proud of the manner in or religious persecution.”

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 • September 2020 • Page 23

Little ‘Things’ make COVID Book Week work!


chools connecting with their communities has been a constant COVID challenge. Students are so used to the positive feedback from their captive audiences, that it has taken great creativity to maintain interest, excitement and that sparkle of engagement. Social media and our visual landscape have played a huge role in ensuring parents and community members continue to get that bird’s eye view of all that’s still happening in our school communities. Janine Kearney

Ruby and Elsie - Thing 1 and Thing 2

In a class of its own


ULGONG: There has been much ado of late with regard to classroom learning environments, and the furnishings and trappings that are conducive to quality learning. Ms Emeny’s Stage 2 class at All Hallows, Gulgong, provides us with a timely reminder that creative quality teaching is still the key. C.S. Lewis himself would be excited to see how his ‘Lion, Witch and Wardrobe’ are livening up the learning in this 21st Century classroom. Janine Kearney Right: Ms Emeny’s class at All Hallows

M&Ms make science sweet!


ver the recent years, there has been a huge focus on making science a sweet selection for students of all ages. At St John’s Primary School, Baradine the success has been literal, with M&Ms as the apparatus used to conduct experiments with colour! And of course, there are always left-overs available to whet the appetites of the brilliant young scientists. Janine Kearney Budding young Baradine scientists in action!

Page 24 • September 2020 • 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

RISE@Redbend 2020 FORBES: On 18th November 2020, Redbend Catholic College Liturgy Captains enjoyed a half-day course of leadership development, delivered online. Normally, our College student leaders would attend a full day program in Orange with other student leaders from schools across the Diocese of Bathurst. However, with restrictions still in place, the program was modified into an online version for this year. We listened to an inspiring introduction from Bishop Michael McKenna and a Wiradjuri Welcome to Country. Between plenty of team building and ice breaking games, along with a lovely lunch held in our College Refectory, our Liturgy Captains listened to and discussed topics such as ‘What is leadership (Jesus as Leader) and leadership in action.’ We also delved into discussions around how our College student faith formation program could continually develop student participation and peer ministry into 2021.

Students experience iRISE online

It was such a fantastic afternoon with students spiritually fired to minister as best as they can. Special thanks to the Catholic Diocese of Bathurst for their preparation of this course, speakers and Emmanuel Worship for their inspirational music. You can check out more on this program by visiting http:// irisebth.weebly.com/ Matthew Pearce Red Bend Catholic College

Redbend students share a meal as part of iRISE 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 • September 2020 • Page 25

Christmas Story Art finalists advance


he Christmas Story Art Competition and Exhibition is an initiative of the Catholic Education Offices in Bathurst, Wollongong and Sydney, designed to celebrate and explore children’s creative and artistic ability in illustrating the Christmas story.

Diocese Christmas Story Art Exhibition and Competition, held in Wellington. The next stage of the competition sees the finalist artworks travel to Sydney for judging, alongside finalists for the Archdiocese of Sydney and Diocese of Wollongong.

‘A Blue Love’ by Macy Hutchison, St Patrick’s Primary School, Lithgow

In past years, the Christmas Story Art Exhibition was held in the crypt of St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney and opened for display to the public. This year, due to COVID-19, the Exhibition will take place online with the launch of students’ art and reflections available to view at: sydcatholicschools. nsw.edu.au

This exhibition and competition provides the opportunity for Years 5 and 6 students to share with the wider community a greater awareness of the role of the arts in Religious Education. Children can develop deeper appreciation for their talents and recognise the value of the arts in expressing Congratulations to all understandings of the students and teachers for Catholic faith. what was an overwhelming Students are invited to submit response, and a level of work art, in different mediums, that can only be described as illustrating the Christmas outstanding. More than 200 Story - with various criteria entries were received from to be met. Those selected as 24 of the 29 primary schools finalists from each Diocese within the Diocese, with 13 go to Sydney for final judging being selected as finalists to be displayed in Sydney. In the last edition of the Catholic Observer, we Those finalists are listed showcased the Bathurst below: ‘Kings of today’ A tribute to our frontline workers by Zoe Byrnes St Joseph’s, Blayney Will Kerin, St Columba’s, Yeoval Savanna Green St Joseph’s, Portland Gabby Liu St Mary’s, Wellington Digby Evans St Joseph’s, Molong Isacc Ostini St Joseph’s, Molong Hugh Shannon St Joseph’s, Molong Will Kerin St Columba’s, Yeoval Macy Hutchison St Patrick’s, Lithgow Edwina Johnson Catherine McAuley, Orange Julia Loecker Catherine McAuley, Orange Ruby Gunning Holy Family, Kelso Lara-Jayne Edmunds All Hallows, Gulgong Tim Coddington St Mary’s, Dubbo Alayna Hague St John’s Dubbo Edie Keighty

St Matthew’s, Mudgee

Chloe Palmer

St Matthew’s, Mudgee

‘A Glorious Night’ by Digby Evans, St Joseph’s Primary School, Molong

Page 26 • September 2020 • 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

Confirmation at Coolah


OOLAH: On 7th November, five students from Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School received the Sacrament of Confirmation.

this year, the Bishop delegated this authority to the priests.

Fr Augustine Mathew, Priest in Charge at Sacred Heart Parish Coolah, celebrated the Confirmation is being Mass and shared the gift of celebrated a little differently Confirmation with our five this year, given that Bishop candidates. Michael was not able to visit How proud we were to join all the parishes throughout with these young people the year as he usually would as they celebrated their to celebrate Confirmation, Confirmation. We pray that due to COVID-19 and filled with the Spirit, they the restrictions we were may go out and be the sweet recently living with. To scent of Christ wherever ensure all young people they go. who are prepared to receive the Sacrament still have the Camille da Silva Tavares opportunity to be Confirmed

Fr Augustine with the confirmandi at Sacred Heart Parish, Coolah

William’s a winner!


UDGEE: Koori Kids, in association with the Department of Veterans Affairs, recently held a competition to provide a greater awareness of the importance and respect of ANZAC Day.

This competition was open to all primary students from K-6 and the competition received 63,490 entries. Year 2 St Matthew’s student, William Stone, was successful in winning a category. His winning medal was presented to him by Mrs Myles at a recent school assembly. Congratulations William! Mrs Sharyn Champion Aboriginal Education Worker Mrs Angela Myles with William Stone

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: www.stmattsmudgee.catholic.edu.au 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 2020 • Page 27

Wandana Cultural Immersion Day


ORTLAND: On 28th October, St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School was, once again, fortunate to have Wandana Aboriginal Education join with us for a day of cultural immersion.

years the children and staff have collaboratively worked together painting the St Joseph’s School story. This painting represents the Schools’ history, core values, motifs and symbols and the connection between the community and student The day gives our children body and will be proudly a unique and authentic displayed. experience exploring history, culture, art and St Joseph’s children always music in a hands on manner. look forward to this day with much excitement. It Isaac and Des introduced provides an opportunity the children to traditional for us all to gain a better Aboriginal artefacts, understanding of our along with Dreamtime Australian Aboriginal storytelling. The history heritage and culture. behind the Didgeridoo, how it was crafted, the Sue Kearns customs regarding its use was followed by a fine performance by Isaac.

St Joseph’s students learning about and displaying their Indigenous art

All the children then had the opportunity to decorate their own personal journey stone, using Aboriginal symbols to tell their own unique story. The children enjoyed learning about Aboriginal movement and were able to perform a traditional Aboriginal dance to finalise an excellent day. Over the course of several

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Page 28 • December 2020 • 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

Fr Garry McKeown blesses one of the graduates from La Salle Academy

La Salle Academy Graduation Mass


ITHGOW: On 12th November, our graduating students were joined by their parents, Fr Garry McKeown, Parish Priest and Chaplain to the Academy, as well as members of the La Salle Academy, to celebrate the end of their schooling years at the Graduation Mass, celebrated at St Patrick’s Church. It was a beautiful gathering, and we are so blessed and so proud to see these fine young adults take their final steps with us, as they enter into the next phase of their lives. We wish them well and are very excited for what the future holds for these fine young adults. On the following evening, the school leaders for 2021 were announced at a special presentation, also at St Patrick’s Church,

Lithgow. Their parents were invited to attend as they were presented with their leadership badges. La Salle Academy staff and students would like to congratulate all the selected students and we look forward to their leadership throughout 2021. Joyce Smith

Fr Garry with 2021 School Captains, Will Commins and Elissa Marshall

Members of the Class of 2020 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 2020 • Page 29

Book Week 2020 at St Matthew’s


UDGEE: A big thank you to all the St Matt’s students and teachers who put so much effort into dressing up for our annual book week parade. Students had a wonderful day showing their love for books and celebrating their favourite book characters! Although we have had to adapt to the COVID-19 requirements and we missed having our amazing parents and carers watch the parade this year, lots of photos and videos have been taken to be shared with families. Mrs Annie Mort The primary students of St Matthews Catholic School dressed for Book Week 2020

Page 30 • December 2020 • 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

Even the Advent candles suffered


ot weather is not unusual in the little town of Ballimore, situated just east of Dubbo, but in the lead up to Christmas last year, the locals experienced exceptionally high temperatures. Along with the rest of the country, Ballimore sweltered in the middle of the worst drought in living memory, with temperatures hitting the mid-40s day after day. It was so hot that local parishioners were stunned to find the Advent candles had melted and slumped at the height of the heat at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Ballimore. During the four Sundays of Advent, churches across the world light their Advent wreaths of evergreen, shaped in a perfect circle to symbolise God’s eternity. During the Advent season, we prepare for the birth of Jesus and the candles on the Advent wreath symbolise hope, love, joy and peace. With the blessing of the rain that we have received this year, the drought has slightly eased and we pray that the temperatures are a little less severe this Christmas. Kimbalee Clews


The Advent candles at Our Lady of Lourdes last year

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Term 4 at Assumption School New Principal appointed


ATHURST: Mrs Kate Salmon has been appointed as Assumption School Principal for 2021.

Kate is currently the Learning and Teaching Consultant for the Catholic Schools Office, Lismore and is an experienced educator. She held the position of Acting Principal at St Joseph’s Primary School, Murwillumbah earlier this year and previously held a number of senior roles at the Catholic Schools Office, Lismore. Kate was previously the Assistant Principal at St John’s, Mullumbimby and the Leader of Curriculum at St John’s prior to this. Kate is a highly effective instructional leader and a strong proponent of the provision of excellent educational opportunities for young people in Catholic schools in regional areas. The students and staff were fortunate to meet Mrs Salmon in early November. We look forward to welcoming Kate to Assumption next year and are excited about the bright, new era for The Assumption School!

Darlene Murdoch from CEDB with the NAIDOC Week prayer focus and Torres Strait Islander people at Assumption, with NAIDOC Week celebrated in great spirit. On Monday, our staff and students joined together to acknowledge NAIDOC and reflect on this year’s theme ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’. Classes linked into the Aboriginal Education Consultative Group’s ‘Together Apart’ film that many schools in the Bathurst area had a special part to play.

beautifully to the new requirements. Year 5 students were denied the opportunity to travel to Canberra for their overnight excursion earlier in the year. To compensate, a visit to Dubbo was organised. The students enjoyed their trip to Old Dubbo Gaol and The Western Plains Cultural Centre. These venues were complemented by the Zoosnooz experience at Taronga Western Plains Zoo. The night walk to see the Australian animals was a highlight. The sounds from the roaring lions added greatly to the evening.

Throughout the week, each year group was involved in various activities focused on Indigenous Thankfully, Kindergarten Orientation culture, especially being aware of this sessions have commenced and the year’s NAIDOC theme. Kinder students of 2021 were excellent. They settled into the activities, showed Assumption concluded NAIDOC pleasing listening skills and were able week with the annual colour run.  to follow teacher directions to complete the set tasks. It was like everyone was Term 4 at Assumption waiting for this chance and responded almost feels normal positively! Mrs Kate Salmon Term 4 has seen a return to somewhat normal circumstances. Excursions have While we must respect the seriousness returned, including overnight stays, of these COVID-19 times, it is pleasing NAIDOC Celebrations at Kindergarten orientations have taken to see children’s and parents’ smiles Assumption place and sporting events have been and joy. May the current signs be an We were lucky to have the opportunity held. All these events have been made indicator to a positive future! to celebrate the history, culture, possible because of careful planning David Maher and achievements of Aboriginal and our students and parents adapting Page 32 • December 2020 • 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

Marvelous things are happening at St Mary’s


ELLINGTON: St Mary’s Catholic School is concentrating on caring for our school, which is our current schoolwide Positive Behaviour for Learning (SPB4L) focus. Recently, students spent an afternoon making St Mary’s sparkle. In K-10 family groups, students competed in a scavenger hunt, aiming to get points for their house and win rewards. Different tasks around the school provided more points and it was the students’ choice as to which activities they completed. Our cubby house, sand pit, gardens, verandahs, windows and pathways at the front of the school now look magnificent.

Thank you to the students of St Mary’s for your fantastic effort and for taking such pride in your school. St Mary’s Task Force The St Mary’s Task Force consists of parents, community and parish members, teaching and ancillary staff and school leadership representatives. The group meets a couple of times each term to provide guidance and input to the school improvement plan, school publicity and promotion. Recently, the group was discussing the direction for St Mary’s, with the planning process for 2021 beginning. The annual School Plan and recruitment of staff were topics

Members of the St Mary’s Catholic School Task Force for discussion. This great initiative provides an excellent platform for our community to guide the School as it moves forward. Leanne Clarke St Mary’s students enjoying a well-deserved treat after the working bee

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Busy times at St Brigid’s Beach to Bush


OONAMBLE: Since 1994, volunteer surf lifesavers have been visiting schools in rural and remote areas, to educate primary school students about safety at the beach. The Beach to Bush program began as a result of research, which highlighted that 50 per cent people rescued from the surf live more than 50km from the beach.

Funding provided to the School allowed for a NAIDOC Day BBQ, and students receiving a drink and a sausage sandwich. In the afternoon, there were activities organised, including a yarning circle, using red, yellow or black beads to make bracelets or necklets; viewing traditional dances; reading Dreamtime stories; badge making; and eating the delicious Johnny Cakes prepared by Jay Jay and the staff at the AMS. At the end of the day, each child was presented with a gift purchased by the AMS. We are always very grateful for their assistance, support and generosity for our NAIDOC celebrations.

On 10th November, Cathy, Bec and their sons Harold and Jack, set up swimming flags and presented an informative talk about general beach safety, sun safety, rips and waves, sea creatures, basic first aid, rescues and getting help from Three reading kits that outline Aboriginal and Torres Strait a lifeguard. Islander Peoples’ histories and cultures were used in the Oscar Macrae thanked the visitors for their presentation. classrooms. These were supplied by Catholic Education We are extremely grateful to them for sharing this program Diocese of Bathurst and will become an important part of our history and geography units. with the students of St Brigid’s. Year 3 visit the Warrumbungles

Patricia Crawley

Year 3 students and their teachers had a wonderful time at the Warrumbungles National Park on 4th November. This excursion was part of the geography, science and technology units. At the National Park, they studied a eucalypt forest and its importance. Students tallied signs of living creatures including birds, rabbits, kangaroos, butterflies and humans. They drew a gum leaf and coloured it with water colour pencils. The group trekked through the gorge, along the creek bed, up a small section of the lava flow and did a treetop walk from the ground, with mirrors. They were amazed to see the ‘crooked mountains, (the meaning of the word Warrumbungles) and the remnants of volcanic activity, including the Breadknife and Split Rock. It was a wonderful excursion and for some students it was their first time into the National Park. Summer Sport Trials The Diocesan Summer Sports Trials were held in Dubbo on 12th November. Aaron Hegarty competed in the tennis trials, placing second in the competition and will now play for the Bathurst Diocese in the Polding competition in Newcastle in February 2021. Henry McIntyre participated in the Touch Football Competition. Both boys thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to participate.

Year 3 students reading Aboriginal Dreamtime stories on the yarning mat

NAIDOC Celebrations NAIDOC Week celebrations are usually held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, it was moved to November. This year’s theme was Always Was, Always Will Be. At St Brigid’s, we celebrated our special NAIDOC Day on 13th November. The staff and students wore a variety of colourful clothes, with the predominant hues being red, black or yellow, the colours on the Aboriginal flag. The day began with an Acknowledgement of Country, flag raising and a liturgy at the flagpole, prepared by Mrs Storer and Mrs Bright. Several students were involved and led the service for all present.

Cathy, Bec and their sons, Harold and Jack with Oscar Macrae

Page 34 • December 2020 • 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

Yarning at Yuranigh’s grave


ANILDRA: Moving, meaningful and magical are the words to best describe what the students and staff from St Joseph Primary School experienced when they visited Yuranigh’s gravesite. Yuranigh, a Wiradjuri man, accompanied early explorer and surveyor, Sir Thomas Mitchell, on an expedition into the tropical interior of Australia in 1846. When Yuranigh died four years later, he was buried within a circle of carved trees, according to traditional tribal custom. Out of respect, Mitchell also had a headstone placed over his grave. As a result, the gravesite contains a unique combination of Aboriginal and European burial customs, that is not known of anywhere else in Australia. Aunty Joyce, Uncle John and Doug pulled up a stump and had a yarra (yarn or talk) about Wiradjuri Ngurambung (home country), Yuranigh and his sleeping place. The St Joey’s staff were ngurrigiilang (proud) as the students showed yindyamarra (respect), reverence and regard. Swinging, sliding and sandwiches concluded a sensational day at the Molong. Billli-Jane Dunn

Celebrating 150 years Please contact the St Raphael’s Catholic School office if you have archival photos and mementos for us to document. We will be sharing the St Raphael’s story throughout the year as we build up to our 150th Anniversary/ Reunion celebrations.

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 2020 • Page 35

Holy Family students ranked top 1 per cent in NSW


ELSO: Holy Family School Year 4 students, Felix Lindsay and Amelia Humphreys, have both been awarded prestigious High Distinctions in the 2020 NSW ICAS University of NSW (UNSW) Mathematics and Science Competitions. The Assessment Centre at the UNSW has confirmed that Felix scored in the top 1 per cent of Year 4 students in NSW in Maths competition, while Amelia scored in the top 1 per cent of Year 4 students in the Science competition. This year, the ICAS competitions were all completed online under strict test conditions and on this occasion, Felix and Amelia, both 9 years old, attained some of the highest Mathematics and Science marks in NSW. The UNSW academic competitions for schools have a long history, and large cohorts compete in the various subject tests each year. The Mathematics competition tests mathematical thinking, problem solving, knowledge and understandings of various Maths topics while the Science competition focuses on scientific thinking, problem solving, knowledge and understandings of various Science topics.

Science wiz, Amelia Humphreys

Mr Kevin Arrow, Principal at Holy Family School said, “The teaching of Maths and Science at Holy Family is a priority across the School. We have resourced this curriculum area really well and it is great to have two students awarded a High Distinction in the Mathematics and Science competitions. Felix and Amelia are hardworking students and both deserve this outstanding achievement.” Both students received a University Certificate to recognise this high achievement in Mathematics and Science. Kimbalee Clews

Mini Mathematician, Felix Lindsay

Issue 81 • MSC Mission Office • PO Box 177 Kensington NSW 1465 PH: (02) 9697 0983 Read more at https://www.mscmission.org.au/read/mission-outreach “Mission Outreach” is the newsletter of the MSC Mission Office Australia to inform you about our work with people in the Pacific, Asia and Africa. You can assist us with your prayers and financial support or by becoming a missionary! Come and join us in our daily five-minute webcast called ‘Mission Alive’ on our website

Email Fr Roger at mscmisio@mscmission.org Page 36 • December 2020 • 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

Christian Living Camp - a rite of passage


ear 6 students from Assumption Primary School, Bathurst; Sacred Heart Primary School, Coolah; St Michael’s Primary School, Dunedoo and All Hallows Primary School, Gulgong attended the annual Year 6 rite of passage Christian Living Camp at the Lake Burrendong Sport and Recreation Centre. The Christian Living Camp is a wonderful opportunity for the students to meet new friends from other schools and experience many new challenges for the first time, while preparing to receive the sacrament of Confirmation. The students enjoyed the many activities including archery, grass skiing, canoeing and orienteering. The camp staff are excellent in organising evening activities in the sports hall. Thanks to Fr Carl Mackander for joining the students and celebrating Mass. A special thank you also to members of the Diocesan Youth Ministry team: Caitlin Brand, Matthew Brown and Jacinta Thatcher, for sharing their faith and their insight about Confirmation and the gifts of the Spirit. A huge thank you to Mrs Hanley and Mrs Connor from Assumption for coordinating the fantastic Christian Living Camp and all the amazing teachers who accompanied the students. How wonderful to be connected to this community of students across our Diocese. Camille Da Silva Tavares

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Would you consider becoming a SRE teacher?


very week for a half hour, Special Religious Education (SRE) is taught in local public schools by volunteer SRE teachers. SRE teachers/catechists are vital to our parishes. They reach out and share the love of God with the children they teach and spread the good news of the Gospel in an age-appropriate way. So why become a SRE teacher? Because you can and you will benefit just as much as the children you teach. The impact you will have on our young people is unique and lasting. You will be welcomed by students who are eager to hear about God’s love and you will form special relationships with those you teach that, in many ways, lives on in their minds and hearts long after they finish school. You will witness amazing transformations in the spiritual life of some young people over time.

As St Mary of the Cross MacKillop said, “Believe in the whisperings of God to your own heart”. Is God whispering to you?

So if you have recently retired or have half an hour to spare each week, or maybe you are seeking a new venture for 2021, why not consider becoming SRE teachers are a variety of ages and a SRE teacher or helper. from all walks of life, reflecting the rich For more information contact your tapestry of our Church. The one thing parish priest, parish SRE coordinator they have in common is the desire to or contact the SRE Regional nurture the faith of the young people Coordinators Vicki and Jacinta in their parishes and communities. on 6334 6400 or by email Jacinta All SRE teachers must obtain or hold Thatcher, Northern Region SRE a valid Working with Children Check, Coordinator: sre2@bathurst.catholic. complete a Safe Church Awareness org.au or Vicki Mair, Southern Region Coordinator: vicki.mair@ Workshop in Child Protection and SRE bathurst.catholic.org.au SRE training. You will be given

There has never been a more critical time to engage in the faith formation and character development of our young people. Even during this present time with COVID restrictions, when parents are not permitted to enter the school grounds, SRE teachers are able attend public schools to teach SRE because the Department of Education consider it essential to the wellbeing of the children support and a program of clearly set out lessons to follow. we teach.




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Catholic Diocese of Bathurst bathurst.catholic.org.au Bishop Michael McKenna 118 Keppel Street PO Box 246 Bathurst NSW 2795 Tel: (02) 6334 6400 bishop@bathurst.catholic.org.au

Clergy Care Clergy Care Coordinator: Janelle Hackett Tel: (02) 6334 6415 clergycare@bathurst.catholic.org.au

Chancellor & Diocesan Secretary Fiona Lewis Tel: (02) 6334 6418 chancellor@bathurst.catholic.org.au

Communications and Media Communications Coordinator: Kimbalee Clews Tel: (02) 6334 6429 comms@bathurst.catholic.org.au

Vicar General Fr Paul Devitt EV Tel: (02) 6331 3066 vg@bathurst.catholic.org.au

Diocesan Adult Faith Worker Sr Alice Sullivan rsj Tel: (02) 6334 6400 sralice@bigpond.com

Archives Peter Condon Tel: (02) 6334 6464 archives@bathurst.catholic.org.au

Diocesan Finance Office Administrator: Patrick Cooper Tel: (02) 6334 6402 dfa@bathurst.catholic.org.au

Catholic Development Fund Manager: Annette Evans Tel: (02) 6334 6400 cdf@cdfbathurst.org.au

Hospital Chaplain Robyn Blunt Tel: (02) 6434 6400

Catholic Education Diocese of Bathurst Executive Director: Christina Trimble Tel: (02) 6338 3000 director@bth.catholic.edu.au Catholic Mission Diocesan Director: Michael Deasy Mobile: 0417 048 880

Marriage Tribunal Director of the Regional Office: Mary Clancy Tel: (02) 6334 6403 tribunal@bathurst.catholic.org.au Office of Mission and Renewal Director: Deacon Joshua Clayton Tel: (02) 6334 6414 mrd@bathurst.catholic.org.au

Prison Chaplains Fr Greg Walsh CM Deacon Mike Williams Geraldine Bowes Fran Schubert Tel: (02) 6334 6400 Professional Standards and Safe Church Awareness Deacon Joshua Clayton Tel: (02) 6334 6414 safeguarding@cdob.org.au RISE - Diocese of Bathurst Youth Project Officer: Jacinta Thatcher Tel: (02) 6334 6426 mrp@bathurst.catholic.org.au Shalom House of Prayer Community Steward: John Hansen Tel: (02) 6367 3058 Web: shalomcarcoar.com shalomcarcoar@gmail.com Special Religious Education/CCD Southern Coordinator: Vicki Mair vicki.mair@bathurst.catholic.org.au Northern Coordinator: Jacinta Thatcher sre2@bathurst.catholic.org.au (02) 6334 6400 Vocations Director Fr Carl Mackander Tel: (02) 6845 2061


Caritas Australia Diocesan Contact: Carmen Beard Tel: (02) 6334 6407 admin@bathurst.catholic.org.au Centacare Bathurst Director: Robert George Tel: 1800 231 118 reception@centcarebathurst.com.au 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 2020 • Page 39

Catholic Development Fund The Catholic Development Fund offers parishioners the opportunity to support the work of the local church, simply by investing funds and attracting competitive interest rates on your account. Your investment supports the Diocese to deliver the mission of the local church, in many ways, including health and aged care services throughout our parishes, quality educational facilities and provision of housing and services to the poor and marginalised, to name just a few. For more information about how you can invest with CDF, contact the friendly team members today on 02 6334 6400 or email cdf@cdfbathurst.org.au or visit the CDF office at 118 Keppel St, Bathurst.

The Board, Management and Staff of the CDF wish everyone peace and joy in this Holy Season. The CDF office will close at 12.30pm on Christmas Eve and will reopen on Monday 4th January for normal business hours.

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

Profile for Catholic Diocese of Bathurst

The Catholic Observer - December 2020  

The quarterly magazine of the Catholic Diocese of Bathurst.

The Catholic Observer - December 2020  

The quarterly magazine of the Catholic Diocese of Bathurst.

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