I have been reflecting and praying recently on some words of St. Francis de Sales.  Francis was Bishop of Geneva, 400 years ago, for some twenty years. He could speak to all people - lay people as well as religious and priests.  The book he wrote "Introduction to the Devout Life" has words of wisdom for all.  He writes about anxiety and worry.  He says how important it is (while being careful and conscientious oneself) to let God do His part.

In the diocese my cares, concerns and sometimes worries and anxieties centre on personnel, practice of the faith and finance.

Recently I made a quick trip over a week around the diocese with Fr. Morrissey and Mrs. Gwen Voigt.  It was mainly to look at financial matters and some of our buildings.  It was, as it were, a quick swoop of the diocese.  While going for a couple of main things, other things emerged.

You can't travel this diocese without meeting people.  What came to the fore again in this short time were the dedicated personnel we have in our diocese who are priests, laity and religious.  We caught up, also, with our two Redemptorist missioners, Fr. John Martin and David Hore.

I saw again much ministering and committed giving to our young people and parishioners.  This is being done in a generous and life-giving was. In other words, I saw various people at work.  It was obvious, though, that God was also at work through doing His part.

The practice of our Faith is also a concern to me.  The numbers of people who regularly celebrate the Eucharist on the week-end have decreased over the years.  Looking at this from another angle, it never ceases to amaze me that the ones who do practice their faith are doing so, as it were "against the tide".  They still do so with great conviction.

In these times, people are still being attracted to the Church.  They are still being influenced by others who live their faith. And in this, I see God at work again.  As we lay people, religious, priests and bishop continue to deepen our relationship with God and live our own faith, God will use that to keep influencing others.

Finances in our diocese at various times cause me more or less concern.  Generally we manage.  This is due to the generosity of our local people and of the wider Church of Australia.  When there is a particular need beyond our resources, support can generally be found from elsewhere.  I see this as God saying "I will provide the Diocese with what it needs to do the work I want it to do".

Recently, I celebrated my 13th anniversary as a Bishop.  I celebrated Mass in St. Cecilia's Church, Port Hedland, Present at the Mass with Fr. Des Reid, PP., were some parishioners as well as a few school staff including some of the children.  It was a very different celebration from thirteen years previously in St. Francis Xavier's Cathedral.  It was, however, very special.  It brought home to me in a real way that I am a Bishop for the whole of this vast Dicoese of Geraldton.  I do pray daily for all of us in this Diocese; however, this simple Mass gave me a physical sense of praying for the people from the north to the south.

That day and celebration of the Mass in St. Cecilia's was a time to recommit myself with all the wonderful laity, religious, and priests of the Diocese to to my part.  It was also a time for me to renew my trust that God is working for us all and will do His part.

Justin Joseph Bianchini
Bishop of Geraldton