DWINDLING POPULATION and the challenges of providing pastoral care were a couple of the topics on the agenda of a regular council of Catholic priests meeting on Wednesday last week.
Toowoomba diocese bishop Robert McGuckin said the meeting in Charleville’s St St Mary’s parish served as a reminder of the vastness of the diocese, the largest in the state. “We have learnt about the distances the local priest, Father Peter Doohan, has to travel,” he said. “It has also helped us to appreciate the variety that’s there is in this area.”
The council of priests meets three times a year, starting with Toowoomba and staging the other two meetings in outlying parishes. They are designed to allow the council members to visit various churches, engage with parishioners, and encourage an exchange of ideas and experiences. Priests are appointed deans of groups of parishes, with Peter the dean for the far west, Jamie Collins the dean of the mid-west and Franco Filipetto the southern dean. At the meeting in the 4RR radio station conference room was Brian Noonan, one of the deans for Toowoomba city.
The bishop said he would return next month to Cunnamulla for first communions and confirmations. “Throughout the course of the year I will also be travelling out and visiting most of the individual parishes that make up this area,” he said. The next council of priests meeting is in Oakey in November.