On Sunday the 7th of July Bishop Michael travelled to Mullewa Parish to celebrate Fr Robert O’Bryan’s 25th Anniversary of Priesthood.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parishioners cheerfully welcomed those who had also braved the chilly morning and travelled from both Geraldton, Northampton, Mingenew, Morawa and a couple from Greenwood Parish, to celebrate the special occasion with Fr Robert.

Fr Robert was overwhelmed to see his little church so crowded and quipped in his opening welcoming remarks, ‘Now the Bishop is here I better do a proper Mass’, much to the delight of the people present as they understood that such a quip epitomises Fr Robert’s relaxed and easy nature and set the joyful spirit for the remainder of the celebrations.

In his homily, Fr Robert shared the approach he has had living out his priesthood.  When he was a young man in another lifetime he was an ambulance officer.  He was taught that when you come across the scene of an incident you don’t analyse what happened or what should have been done to avoid it.  What you do do, is ‘treat the presenting problem’, the patient bleeding out on the ground.  And that is what he has carried throughout his Priesthood, treating the presenting problem.

At the conclusion of the Mass Bishop Michael spoke of his first meeting with Fr Robert.  It was at the time when Robert was living in Port Hedland working as an ambulance officer, [as Fr Robert had mentioned in his homily earlier], and as a presenter on the local radio station.  The Bishop as a young priest had been posted to South Hedland Parish as an Assistant Priest and was invited to speak on the radio, as all local Ministers were. He was feeling quite nervous about having to and Robert was most helpful at putting him at ease and showing how to go about it.

Bishop expressed his appreciation of Fr Robert for his great commitment to the Diocese and everything he is involved in, his dedication to his daily prayers and the Divine Office and his ability to form good relationships with people. The Bishop mentioned how much he values him and that is why he invited him to be part of his College of Consultors, along with many other responsibilities he has given him.

Bishop Michael jokingly added that Fr Robert was not allowed to retire while he was Bishop, and then added that no one was allowed to retire while he was Bishop, to which Sr Mary Ryan from the Congregation immediately retorted, “I’ve got news for you”!

Following the Mass everyone gathered at the school for refreshments as Our Lady of Mt Carmel Parish Council Chairman, Mr Andrew Thomas, on behalf of the Mullewa community and congratulated Fr Robert before inviting him to cut a beautifully decorated cake.