Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

Episcopal Ordination of Bishop Michael Morrissey takes place in Geraldton

The Most Reverend Michael Morrissey was ordained the ninth Bishop of Geraldton on the eve of the feast Saints Peter and Paul, Wednesday 29 June at Nagle Catholic College Gymnasium.

The Archbishop of Perth, the Most Reverend Timothy Costelloe SDB, was the Principal Ordaining Bishop. The Principal co-consecrating Bishops were Emeritus Archbishop of Perth and the seventh Bishop of Geraldton, the Most Reverend Barry Hickey and the Most Reverend, Justin Bianchini, Bishop Emeritus of Geraldton. The Apostolic Nuncio in Australia, His Excellency the Most Reverend Adolfo Tito Yllana read the Papal Bull in Latin followed by a translation in English.

Bishop-Elect Morrissey is the first Bishop of Geraldton who was born, raised, ordained and ministered in the Diocese and said his appointment recognises all the small communities scattered throughout the diocese

Held in the gymnasium of Nagle Catholic College while St Francis Xavier Cathedral is undergoing renovations, Kathy Councillor extended a Welcome to Country to Bishop-elect Morrissey and the assembled Archbishops and Bishops on behalf of the Yamatji people.
 
Born in Yalgoo on 9 September 1952, Bishop-Elect Morrissey was educated at Aquinas College, Perth. He continued his studies at St Charles Seminary in Perth and at St Francis Xavier Seminary, Adelaide.  He was ordained a priest on 31 January 1981 in St Francis Xavier Cathedral, Geraldton. From 1981 to 1984, he worked as Assistant Priest in the Parishes of Bluff Point and Port Hedland. He served as Administrator in the Parishes of Bluff Point, Port Hedland and South Hedland between 1984 and 1985.

The new bishop adopted as his motto, “Trust in the Lord” from Proverbs 3:5, saying that it will remind him of how to be a Bishop with the continuing words, "Do not lean on your own understanding." 
 
In his homily for the occasion, Archbishop Costelloe said that for someone who grew up on a sheep station near Yalgoo, the new bishop will hardly need an explanation of what sheep are like or what shepherds do. “He will have a deep instinctive understanding of what it means to talk about the pastoral role of the Bishop and why Jesus himself understood his life and ministry in such terms,” Archbishop Costelloe said. 

“It is of course through the powerful presence of God’s Spirit, acting through this sacrament of Holy Orders, that our new bishop will be not just commissioned but enabled by God’s grace to be all that the Lord and his Church requires of him as a bishop, a successor of the apostles, in this diocese and in the Church,” Archbishop Costelloe said.

“Bishop Michael, through the grace of this sacrament of God’s provident love, you will be remoulded, reshaped, into a living image of the presence of the one true Good Shepherd among his people.  In this sense the words of Saint John the Baptist in reference to Jesus must hold good for you as well:  He, Jesus, must grow greater and I must grow smaller,” he said.
 
Following his ordination, Bishop Morrissey said it is with a sense of joy, and hope, and ‘Trust in the Lord’, that he has accepted this new ministry.

“To paraphrase Hebrews 12:1, I am surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses to the faith, who have been an important part of my life as a Priest,” Bishop Morrissey said.

“At this time our Church is weighed down and under intense scrutiny because of failures in being true to the Gospel by individual members of the Church. This affects us all and could have caused me to hesitate in accepting this call to be your Bishop. However, I found hope and encouragement through the lives of Saints Peter and Paul.

“Peter, in the midst of his failure to stand up for Jesus in his hour of need, received the Grace to change.  Paul, through the power of the Spirit and with his rich understanding of the Hebrew Scriptures, knew he had to change. We will have to change as a Church and especially in the way we lead. Pope Francis calls us to listen with humility and accept our failures of leadership,” he said.

He paid tribute, together with fellow Bishops present for the occasion, in paying tribute to Bishop Justin Bianchini for his service as the eighth Bishop of Geraldton for 25 years, from May 1992 till now.

“Following in Bishop Justin Bianchini’s footsteps is very special, having worked closely with him for the past 25 years,” Bishop Morrissey said. “I hope to continue the legacy of Bishop Justin, listening to the people and seeing where they would like to go in their faith and life.”

The Diocese of Geraldton encompasses the mid-western section of the state of Western Australia, is one of the world’s largest dioceses in territorial terms, covering an area of 1.3 million square kilometres, from Port Hedland in the North to Leeman in the south to the Northern Territory and South Australian boarders. The Catholic population of 29, 300 people live in 16 parishes and 24 missions, which are served by 18 parish priests and assistant priests, 35 lay religious and three seminarians.

NEW BISHOP APPOINTED FOR DIOCESE OF GERALDTON

Bishop Justin Bianchini is proud to announce that Pope Francis has this evening, Monday 15 May 2017, officially appointed Fr Michael Morrissey as the new Bishop of Geraldton.

Bishop Bianchini said that Bishop-elect Morrissey will be consecrated the ninth Bishop of Geraldton by The Most Reverend Timothy Costelloe SDB, Archbishop of Perth, on Wednesday 28 June. The co-consecrators will be Archbishop Barry Hickey and Bishop Justin Bianchini.

“This is an historic occasion for the Diocese of Geraldton as Bishop-elect Morrissey is the first priest of the Diocese of Geraldton in its 119 year history to be appointed the Bishop of the Diocese. It is as if he has the DNA of the Diocese within him. It is in a sense a coming of age for the Diocese”, said Bishop Bianchini.

 “Fr Michael has a good knowledge of the Diocese having ministered in it from north to south. He will be a rich gift to the Diocese, bringing with him many administrative and pastoral skills. He also has the qualities of a true shepherd for the Priests, Religious and People of the Diocese”, he said.

Bishop-elect Morrissey is the son of Harry (dec.) and Margaret Morrissey, formerly of Noongall Station, Yalgoo.

Born at St John of God Hospital Geraldton in 1952, Bishop-elect Morrissey grew up in Yalgoo, doing his primary education through School of the Air. His Secondary education years were spent at Aquinas College, Perth. His priestly formation occurred through St Charles’ Seminary, Guildford, WA, and St Francis Xavier’s Seminary, Adelaide, SA.

Bishop-elect Morrissey was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Geraldton by the late Bishop Francis Xavier Thomas on 31 January 1981. He has served in the parishes of Bluff Point, South and Port Hedland, Karratha, Geraldton and Mullewa. He has held a variety of Diocesan roles including Chancellor and Vicar General.

From 1983 to 2015 Bishop-elect Morrissey served as an Army Reserve Chaplain, his last appointment being Senior Chaplain of the 2nd Reserve Division of Australia.

Crothers Construction are the successful tenderers for both Stages 3 (the Midwest Flower Garden) and 4 (the Cathedral interior)  of the SFX Cathedral Precinct Project.   As the  Federal Funding of $3m has now been approved, work will commence immediately.   It is anticipated the contract will be finished by October.  To see what  is involved in the final 2 stages, go to the Cathedral Precinct Project's website and click on Future Works.  The Cathedral has been emptied of pews and artefacts and will be closed until the completion of Stage 4. 

 

Fr Michael Morrissey V.G., Mr Benny Joseph and Bishop Justin Bianchini at the Launch.

The Parish Secretary of St Francis Xavier Cathedral Parish, Mr Benny Joseph, officially launched the CD, "The Merciful", that he produced in honour of Bishop Justin Bianchini's 25 years as the Bishop of Geraldton, W.A.. 

Mr Joseph produced the CD under his own banner of Salve Regina Creations, with the assistance of his close friend, Shaji Stephan. Mr Stephan is a very gifted person and a man of strong faith who has directed more than 500 video albums in India and written over 1000 songs. He also has a great role as the Convenor of Media Commission in the Diocese of Kannur, in the southern state of Kerala in India. Previously he had worked with Shalom Television and his experience in the industry made him well placed to know the right contacts for such a production. Mr Joseph was delighted that his friend was able to secure the talents of Jackson Aruja for the Music and Orchestration of The Merciful, as he is a renowned artist in India, who is in high demand and extremely busy. Mr Joseph acknowledges that without the great effort and sincerity of Mr Shaji Stephan this album would not have been possible.

Mr Joseph's own achievement is much more than just being the producer of a Praise and Worship CD, as it was he alone who composed the lyrics of all the songs. Each song is a testament to the love and mercy of our Loving God, and evidently Mr Joseph's personal experience of that in his life.

The concept of Producing the CD initially began after Mr Joseph had written the lyrics for one song, "The Merciful" during the Year of Mercy . After investigating the costs of producing it he realised it was a very expensive undertaking for only one song, and decided it would be better value to produce five songs. He set about writing four more songs, but the idea niggled him that the CD would be better value for people if it had ten songs. Being a man of great Faith, he reflected on the idea, prayed about it and the next five songs flowed within three days. Mr Joseph said personally he believes the best song he wrote is the last one he penned, "Forget Me Not Lord".  Mr Joseph also further stated, "Indeed, the mercy of God is my merit. In the lyrics of "The Merciful" I quoted the words 'Not our wish or exertion, but His mercy is the foundation' (Rom 9:16, NRSV). It is His unlimited mercy poured upon me in feeling His Grace to write the words of all songs. He performs miracles through unworthy people and it is a miracle that this CD has been launched. I am very grateful and praise our good Lord from the depth of my heart which is beyond words".  

When Bishop Bianchini was asked his thoughts on the CD he said, "I am deeply honoured by Mr Joseph's gesture in memory of my 25 years as Bishop of Geraldton. It is quite remarkable how the professional musicians and singers were able to pick up and joyfully convey the spirit of these songs. I believe the songs would particulary be helpful for both individuals and groups in their prayer and reflection".

The CD's are available for the low price of $10 from the Cathedral Parish Office or the Diocesan Office  .

View a sample from the album The Merciful - Forget Me Not Lord on YouTube

For further enquiries, Mr Benny Joseph can be contacted on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Click this link if you wish to read the Perth Archdiocese e-Record article

Monsignor Hawes Heritage Centre - Official Opening

On Saturday 3rd September, 2016, invited Dignitaries and Major Donors gathered with the local Community of Geraldton to witness the Monsignor Hawes Heritage Centre being Blessed by Bishop Justin Bianchini and officially Opened by the Honourable Colin Barnett MLA, Premier of Western Australia.

Located in front of Geraldton’s world renowned St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral, the Monsignor Hawes Heritage Centre consists of an interpretive centre (museum) and a café/restaurant fronted by a large paved piazza. The facility was designed specifically to tell the story, and display artefacts, associated with the priest and architect / builder Monsignor John Cyril Hawes. Hawes worked in the Diocese of Geraldton for many years and is the man behind numerous unique heritage buildings spread throughout the Midwest and Gascoyne region of Western Australia, with the Cathedral being his ‘crowning glory’.

The Heritage Centre attempts to capture some of the spirit of the man who was Hawes, and the passion that drove him to want to give glory to God in often the harshest of conditions.  Through his artistic and architectural skills, matched only with his utter commitment, physical strength and sheer tenacity, he achieved what would have been impossible for most - giving life to his many drawings through the completion of many beautiful places of worship. 

The many great features and works of art by Hawes within the Centre will delight many of the  185,000 annual tourists to Geraldton and locals alike, who may then be inspired to travel the ‘Hawes Trail’ throughout the  Midwest and Gascoyne area to visit the actual sites.Fr Robert Cross, Mr Bernard Brown, Premier Colin Barnett, Mr Ian Blayney

Located in the Central foyer of the Centre is a tryptic art piece titled Dolor, Spes, Sanatio et Redemptio (Sorrow, Hope, Healing and Redemption). This contemporary art-work was commissioned by the Diocese of Geraldton and created by the Carnarvon based Fuse Art Collective, consisting of Sabrina Dowling Giudici, Bonni Ingram and Anton Blume.

A life-size bronze statue of Monsignor Hawes and his dog Dominie currently being fabricated by Smith Sculptors of Gidgegannup will be erected soon after the official opening.

The Monsignor Hawes Heritage Centre has been made possible by a $1.54 million contribution from the Liberal National Government’s Royalties for Regions program through the Mid-West Investment Plan, $651,038 from Lotterywest, with the remaining funding provided by significant contributions from the Roman Catholic Diocese and community  fundraising efforts.

Official Opening 
Click to view Opening on Youtube.

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Melissa Price MP Announces Federal Government Promise of  $3million if  Federal Government is Re-elected

On Friday morning 17 June, Melissa Price  MP held a press conference in the Cathedral together with Bishop Justin Bianchini and the Cathedral Precinct Project Committee to announce that the Federal Government will provide $3million dollars to complete the Cathedral Precinct Project. subject to the Government being re-elected.

Melissa Price said the Cathedral was of national heritage significance and she was delighted to make this announcement.

Bishop Bianchini was equally delighted to receive the commitment of the Federal Government and spoke about how this will allow the completion of the Cathedral Precinct Project which was very close to his heart.

The Cathedral Precicnt Project Committee Chair, Mr Bernard Brown, said the commitment of the Federal Government to the project recoginised and built on the commitment of funds not only by the State Government through Royalty for Regions and Lotterywest, but also the great generosity of the local community of Geraldton.

Mr Brown stressed that the community generosity was accross the whole community and not just from the Catholic community, as the Cathedral and indeed the whole heritage of Monsignor Hawes was treasured and belonged to the whole community of the Midwest, as such was supported by them with great generosity.

Fr Robert Cross pointed out that St Francis Xavier's Cathedral was recognised in an authoritive publication detailing the top most magnificent Cathedrals in the world as among the top 80, and is described as one of the finest Cathedrals built in the 20th century and most certainly among if not Australia's most significant Cathedrals.

Click the folowing link to see GWN7's news video of the announcement:  https://au.gwn7.yahoo.com/w1/news/a/-/local/31862610/3-million-promise-for-wa-icon-video/

Click here to read Melissa Price Media Release: 

Vision Statement

We are:

* a welcoming community which reaches out to all
* celebrating Christ's presence
* joyfully living out our Christian calling across distance and diversity

This vision states that as a Diocese, we aim to be a welcoming, missionary, centred on Christ, and each striving to live one's particular vocation. It is in living out our calling that we praise God, follow Christ, influence society and achieve the goal of eternal life won for us by Christ. In the parishes we have encouraged people to measure whatever they do against this Diocesan vision.

Most Rev. Justin Bianchini, DD

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Catholic Diocese
of GERALDTON
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7 Maitland Street
Geraldton WA 6531

PO Box 46
Geraldton WA 6531

Ph: +61 8 9921 3221
Fax: +61 8 9964 1097