Successful 2021 Diocesan Gathering

On Wednesday, 24th of March, key leaders from around the Diocese joined with Bishop Michael and the Clergy in the Catholic Centre in Geraldton for Professional Development.

Mrs Cathy Jones, the Pastoral Leader from the Inland Parishes (Mt Magnet, Cue and Meekatharra) began the meeting with Acknowledgement of Country before Jo Harris, Religious Consultant for CEWA in the Diocese, lead everyone in prayer using the Visio Divina method of prayer (praying with images).

The Facilitator of the meeting, as well as the Diocesan Coordinator for the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia, Fr Gerard Totañes, spoke of the latest document released for the Council, 'Instrumentum Laboris'. This document draws on the voices heard during earlier phases of the Plenary Council, as well as other key sources. Meeting attendees had received an email earlier from Fr Gerard containing chapters three and four from the Instrumentum as pre-meeting reading material. Group discussion and conversation took place with enlightened sharing to the wider group and further conversation.

Ms Saxon Gee, the Director of Professional Standards Office of WA, presented the an overview and understanding of the new National Response Protocol and how it will work as well as how it replaces the 'Towards Healing' process. She explained that individuals often think that her office only deals with sexual abuse complaints and forgets that she is there also for Integrity in Ministry abuses and Integrity in the Service of the Church abuses such as Adult boundary violations, Pastoral incompetence and financial improprieties.  She stressed that her office was there to support and work with all the dioceses of Western Australia, and thanked Archbishop Costelloe, and the Archdiocese of Perth, for making this possible.  If anyone needs advice, she is only a phone call away. 

Mr Tim Wong, from the Perth CEWA office, gave an enthusiastic presentation on Child Safety in Schools, involving also a practical session on what child safety means in schools. He explained the Code of Conduct and what it really means, as well as the need for everyone to get comfortable with it. It is a shared responsibility. 

Mr Chris Cotter, CEWA Director of Religious Education, presented his Religious Education topic with skill as he introduced everyone to the publication 'Directory for Catechesis', one of the best documents ever released from the Vatican! He then instigated lively table discussions with posing the question as to what everyone thought was the difference between 'Religious Education' and 'Catechesis'.

The Administrator of the Cathedral, Fr Bernard Balaraj came forth with a large cake for those celebrating their anniversaries this year, Bishop Michael Morrissey, 40 years of Priesthood, Fr Gerard Totanes, 20 years of Priesthood, and Fr Tai Trinh soon to celebrate 10 years of Priesthood.  Fr Larry Rodillas, the newest Australian Citizen among the clergy, was also invited forward to cut the cake in celebration.

Sr Betty Keane, the Diocese's last remaining Josephite Sister, was invited to close the gathering with prayer and Grace for the beautiful spread of lunch catered for by Mrs Jane Whiteaker, from the Bishop's House. 

Later that afternoon, everyone gathered again in the Cathedral at 5pm to celebrate the Mass of Oils and support their Clergy in the recommitment to Service to the Bishop, before Bishop Michael and a number of Clergy and Principals shared a meal together at the Emerald Room on Cathedral Avenue.