Clergy thanked for ministry, wisdom and continued engagement with Catholic community

30 Nov 2023

By Jamie O'Brien

Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton, back row, centre, with retired priests and clergy who came together Thursday 16 November for a special Mass and luncheon at the Pastoral Centre Chapel, Highgate. Photo: Jamie O’Brien.

Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton has this month given thanks for priests and clergy who are no longer in full-time ministry at a special Mass.

Bishop Sproxton was joined for the Mass, Thursday 16 November at the Pastoral Centre Chapel, Highgate, by concelebrants, Vicar General the Very Rev Fr Peter Whitely VG, Episcopal Vicar for Clergy, Emeritus Archbishop Barry Hickey and Geraldton Emeritus Bishop Justin Bianchini.

Also present for the Mass was Episcopal Vicar for Clergy, the Very Rev Fr Minh-Thuy Nguyen and Episcopal Vicar, Education and Faith Formation, the Very Rev Fr Vincent Glynn, together with several priests who are no longer in full-time ministry.

Speaking briefly about the life of retired Pope Benedict XVI, Bishop Sproxton emphasised the opportunity for many retired clergy to continue to be engaged in the life of the people for whom they were ordained to serve. Photo: Jamie O’Brien

Speaking briefly about the life of retired Pope Benedict XVI, Bishop Sproxton emphasised the opportunity for many retired clergy to continue to be engaged in the life of the people for whom they were ordained to serve.

“This is a blessing for you to be able to do that for the years that you are able,” Bishop Sproxton said.

“We give thanks for the ways in which you have helped people across the Archdiocese in providing supply on weekends and on other occasions, which has been very, very important…” he said.

“That’s one of the things that I’ll be giving thanks for in this Mass today – because of your willingness and your generosity, to make yourselves available for that ministry, where you are able.

Fr Ossie Lewis proclaims the first reading at the Mass for Retired Priests and Clergy, Thursday 16 November at the Pastoral Centre Chapel, Highgate. Photo: Jamie O’Brien

Bishop Sproxton continued by speaking to the clergy present about the ministry of Jesus, reflecting on the first reading from the Book of Wisdom and the Gospel from Luke.

“The presence of God among us is something that we trust, and we rely on and we reflect upon in our lives,” he noted.

“And in that reflection – of what has happened to us each day, especially at the end of the day when we reflect upon the whole day and think of those things that come as a great blessing to us – we think of those things that have challenged us, because we realise that each day is an opportunity for renewal and growth.

Retired priests and clergy came together Thursday 16 November for a special Mass and luncheon at the Pastoral Centre Chapel, Highgate. Photo: Jamie O’Brien

Bishop Sproxton concluded by giving thanks for the presence of the Lord who helps us each day to keep growing.

“Growing in faith, growing in trust – and so we bring all of this to the Lord, in this Eucharist and we pray, especially for those who accompany us and help us in those various stages of our lives as priests.”

Bishop Sproxton paid special thanks to Episcopal Vicar for Clergy, the Very Rev Fr Minh Thuy Nguyen and his team for the work they are doing in supporting active and non-active priests and clergy in the Archdiocese.