Teachers and anxillary staff from St. Mary’s Northampton and Our lady of Mt Carmel, Mullewa, joined their Geraldton counterparts for the Annual Commissioning Mass at St Francis Xavier Cathedral on Friday the 9th of February, this year prepared and hosted by staff members of Nagle Catholic College.

In the homily Bishop Michael Morrissey DD, celebrating the Mass for the first time since being appointed as Bishop of Geraldton, thanked the staff for their presence, saying, “My thoughts are of gratitude and thankfulness for your involvement as teachers and staff in the schools of the Diocese of Geraldton. All of you will be shapers of the minds and thoughts of our young people during 2018 giving them confidence to go out into the world like each of you have done either recently or many, many years ago!”

He continued, “Pope Francis spoke wisely to the new Bishops of 2017 last year with these words…” Discernment is a remedy for the immobility of “it has always been so” or “let us take time”. It is a creative process…. It is an antidote against rigidity, because the same solutions are not valid everywhere”’ “Wise words from our Pope” the Bishop said.

Bishop Michael noted, “Discernment is developing the capacity for listening, understanding, recognizing the giftedness of each other even those who are not part of our circle, being humble with our view or project as Pope Francis reminded the new Bishops. He further stated for us to remember that, “God was in your diocese before you came and will be there when you leave”…“Wise words for all of us”, The Bishop said.

After the homily, the Bishop then commissioned 41 staff members new to Catholic Education in the Diocese of Geraldton, which included those beginning in Catholic Education for the first time and those transferring from other dioceses, as they gathered around the newly modified sanctuary. These were then presented with a scroll Mr. Peter Yensch, Acting Deputy Director of Catholic Education in WA, supported by Geraldton based Principal Schools Advisor, Leanne Hodge.

During the blessing of the new staff, Bishop Michael asked God to bless the staff with a passion for learning, a heart for engagement, the wisdom of accountability, and a commitment to Christian discipleship. The ceremony was then directed to all staff as Bishop Michael invited all to make, or renew, their commitment to Catholic Education.

Following the Mass many of those present attended a time for friendship, food, drinks and collegiality at Catholic Centre, hosted by the staff of St Mary’s Northampton.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  (article submitted by Fr Robert O'Bryan)

Bishop Michael's Homily

Today’s Readings are from the normal weekday (1 Kg11:29-32, 12:19, Mk 7:31-37).

Interesting readings for the beginning of the School Year, rock throwing, cursing, family divisions, unclean spirits!!

The Bible, especially the OT, has pretty dramatic readings, as people seek to understand their relationship with God, with others and who might be against them!

Jesus, in the Gospel, has to deal with some pretty dramatically entrenched behaviours and attitudes.

There will be times and situations where we will face the challenges of David and Jesus in the Gospel, even from among those closest to us: how do we deal with that?

David does not deny his misery and sorrow at what has happened, yet has a hope that an answer will come from the darkness. Often the answer today will come from our listening to another, before speaking, having a calmness of spirit like Mary McKillop amid great trial at times.

This story about the Gerasenes in the Gospel of Mark reminds me of the Australian Movie, “The Dressmaker”. There is often a desire to stick with the tried script, attitudes or beliefs which in fact poison or hinder us to new possibilities, thinking and reconciliation.

Jesus encouraged the Gerasenes to change their view of the man living in the tombs. The man after his dramatic healing scene is encouraged by Jesus to stay amid those who had shunned him. That would be a challenge for anyone to stay behind and deal with the very people who had heaped all their problems and complaints onto to the man in the tombs.

As a school community, we are often challenged to change our thinking and understanding. One way we can do that, is by developing our capacity to listen, which is discernment. Pope Francis challenged the new Bishops in Rome last September with these words. “I invite you to cultivate an attitude of listening, growing in the freedom of renouncing one’s own point of view”.

Discernment is right up there with me since I have become a bishop; there are no easy answers at times and our Jesuit Pope is very strong on that point. Teachers and staff within a school setting will know that from their own experience. Pope Francis said discernment is a remedy for the immobility of “it has always been so ‘.  

Nagle’s theme this year is Compassion.

We cannot even begin to understand what Compassion is, without the listening ear taking us beyond how we might see things. During 2018 we seek to understand what it means personally and communally through discernment.

Nagle is a school community that will enable the students to reach beyond a view that is restrictive to see new possibilities. We need first to have that understanding and belief.

Finally, this might be a scary, but you are the face of Jesus to the students and their families! Also you are to each other. Enjoy the year and may you be a blessing to each other, as we all journey through 2018.