These thoughts I write before leaving for the WYD Pilgrimage on August 4th.
Our eight young people from the Diocese and myself, are joining the Salvatorian Fathers group from Perth, Bunbury, Broken Bay, Sydney Diocese. The Geraldton group are Francis Jadzinski, Priscilla Jadzinski, Nathan Danker (South Hedland); Simon Wilkinson (Karratha); Stella De Gouveia Ryan Atherton (Carnarvon); Jason Morrissey (Tardun) and Hoanh Hoang (Geraldton). One thing that has really impressed me about this pilgrimage is the fact that we have all received materials to prepare. The most important materials were the prayer and reflections over a period of ten days.
Regularly every second year, I spend time visiting parishes in the northern half of the Diocese. Over almost seven weeks, I move from parish to parish for the formal Visitation and Confirmation. It is always a joy, as I feel most at home in Pastoral Ministry.
At the insistence of the webmaster, I wish to open up to you my thoughts and different aspects of our shared faith. This short reflection seeks to focus on, reflect on, pray about and deepen our appreciation of our wonderful God who thought so much of us to take our flesh and dwell among us.
The greater part of my time as Bishop is shared with people - my pastoral family- priests, religious and parishioners-, family gatherings, catching up with friends and, at times, in contact with total strangers. There are joyful times and there are sad moments. Reflecting on all of these events and praying about them, one thing that comes through most of all is that Jesus is present in all these happenings.
In this year of the Eucharist, so much has been, and will be, said about the great Mystery of the Eucharist. I offer a short reflection on the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes. I trust that this will be some nourishment to our Faith. It would help to read for yourselves Mark 6:34-44, and reflect and pray on it.
Visitors returning to Geraldton after an absence of two or three years all make the same comment - "Geraldton is on the Move". They point to the foreshore development, new housing estates, the re-routing of the train line and so on. And the Church, too, is part of this transformation with the extensions at Nazareth House, amalgamation of St. Patrick's and Stella Maris, and the newly approved facilities for Centacare.
I have been reflecting and praying recently on some words of St. Francis de Sales. Francis was Bishop of Geneva, 400 years ago, for some twenty years. He could speak to all people - lay people as well as religious and priests. The book he wrote "Introduction to the Devout Life" has words of wisdom for all. He writes about anxiety and worry. He says how important it is (while being careful and conscientious oneself) to let God do His part.
Over the past twelve years, a momentous project has been progressing here in Geraldton with the amalgamation of our two Catholic Colleges - Stella Maris College conducted by the Presentation Sisters and St. Patrick's College, served by the Christian Brothers. Both Colleges had histories of strong traditions.