By Michael Tan, Catholic Outlook
The Parramatta Catenians hosted a most enjoyable and successful 17th anniversary dinner on 23 March 2017 with special guest Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv. We had 100 guests for the night, including Catenians from other Circles, visiting guests from various parishes in the Diocese, as well as a special men’s choir, who entertained us with their singing skills towards the end of the evening.
In addition to the Bishop, the Catenians also welcomed Monsignor John Boyle to our celebration, before Monsignor Boyle heads to Rome to take up his new role at Domus Australia. We were particularly delighted at Monsignor Boyle’s presence, as he was the Dean of the Cathedral Parish when the Parramatta Catenians were inaugurated 17 years ago.
We also had a table of guests from Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, Kellyville, the Bishop’s former parish where he served as Parish Priest, and the OLOR parishioners were delighted to catch up with the Bishop on the night.
We also had Catenian dignitaries present. This included George Kazs, the President of the Australian National Council, Graham Short, Provincial Vice-President deputising for Provincial President Peter Tilbrook, who was an apology for the evening, as well as Eugene Das, the newly installed President of the Andheri Circle in Mumbai, India.
Special Catenian guests also included widows from both the Parramatta and the Hills Circles. Life member Brendan O’Connell was also in attendance, as were some of our foundation members, including Peter Polkinghorne, our first Circle President, who came up from Canberra to be with us, and Warren Clarke, who was our Provincial President at the time of our inauguration.
Non-Catenian visitors were also present. These included Frank Duff from the Knights of the Southern Cross and Leonard Pinto from the Catholic Sri Lanka Association.
The evening was held as a joint meeting with the Hills Circle, which is based around the Hills area. Phil Russo from the Parramatta Catenians shared a welcome to the country before the President of the Hills circle, Peter Huby, led us in the customary Catenian prayers. Following this, Monsignor Boyle said grace before dinner started.
After dinner, the Bishop spoke eloquently from the heart concerning the issues facing our Diocese, especially in a climate of the Royal Commission which in a public forum has shown us how the Church has failed in many instances, at both a structural and governance level, to safeguard and protect the most vulnerable members of our Catholic community from being abused by members of our clergy and religious communities. The Bishop proposed a way forward, to seek as a Church community to be less focused on power and structure, and to be more humble and missionary in serving the needs of the poor and vulnerable members of our community.
The Bishop’s address to those present was well received, and those present were most appreciative and supportive of his leadership during this difficult time in the life of our Diocese.
The evening then came to a conclusion with a mens’ choir singing for us. This choir consisted of fathers of past and present students at St. Aloysius College, and includes a Catenian among its members. The choir provided a most enjoyable and fitting ending to a most memorable evening for all concerned.