2017 Easter Message - Giving Life To Others

You may have read in the West Australian Newspaper earlier this year in February a special story of a little two year old called Jasmine who received the gift of a heart transplant in 2016.

The whole story is extraordinary really. At 8 months, in late 2015, Jasmine had trouble breathing. She was placed in an induced coma and rushed from Broome to Princess Margaret Hospital in Perth. Her condition was so bad that her parents, Jo and Dale, were told she needed a heart transplant to survive.

The family had to relocate to Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital where Jasmine was hooked up to a 160 kg machine to keep her heart pumping while awaiting a new one.

2016 Christmas Message - God Is With Us

We come once again to our heart-warming Feast and celebration of Christmas.

It is both a celebration of an event as well as a reminder of something that is always with us - the Incarnation. We have an Incarnate God. Our God of the universe is not only transcendent, i.e. above and beyond us, but is also intimately connected with us.

“The Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us” (Jn1:14). Because the Word, the Son of God, is among us it is also true that He is within us.

Bishop's Heart and Mind - Colour of Culture

The Agricultural Region of our state of Western Australia has been blessed with regular rains this year. Crops are growing well to the delight of the hard working and patient farmers.

In our Midwest Region a good season like this brings out from the earth a kaleidoscope of wild flowers. Add to this the many bushes and shrubs, and the country is ablaze with rich colours.

The people that populate our Great Southern Land - from the Traditional owners to the latest arrivals - bring a much greater richness and colour to our country. 

On Sunday the 20th of August we celebrated the 102nd World Day of Migrants and Refugees. On this Sunday some Parishes encourage people to come in their National dress or costumes. Women generally outdo the men and their colourful dresses rival even the colours of our God created wild flowers.  

Bishop's Heart and Mind - Union with Jesus - the Key

The 24th Anniversary of my Ordination as Bishop recently coincided with my recovering from open heart surgery. At this time I could do very little. In fact it was a time when physically I was least able to do anything as Bishop in my whole twenty four years.

The Grace, the blessing ( apart from the healing via a very good heart Surgeon and excellent medical, nursing and home care ) was the time to reflect and pray in simple ways.

Apart from the gratitude I felt, since I was able do very little, a question came to me, "What does Priesthood mean? Where does it get its value and worth?"

My thoughts went back to a Priest, Fr Miloslav Vlk, who would later become the Archbishop of Prague. When he was ordained in 1968 in Czechoslovakia it was under Communist rule. He was allowed to Minister for a few years before being prohibited for some ten years and kept under surveillance. He was made to work as a window cleaner in the public streets. 

2016 Easter Message - The Mercy of God in the Easter Mystery

Another word we know for Easter is Passover. It’s the word the Jews use for that memorable time in their Faith history when Moses led them from slavery in Egypt, through the Red Sea, to freedom.

As slaves they truly were in a pitiable state. The Egyptians were relentless, and to keep them subdued they made the Jews work harder and harder. Eventually Pharaoh also decreed that all male children of the slaves should be killed.

God had mercy on his people when he chose and sent Moses to free them from their slavery and subjection.

Human slavery is still present today. There are children working for a pittance in sweat shops. There are people forced into prostitution. In some countries children are forced to take up guns and become soldiers and murderers. Such slavery is one of the greatest offences against people and their God given dignity.

2015 Christmas Message - God's Rich Mercy

We have begun the Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis. The purpose of this Year is clearly stated by Pope Francis when he wrote, “How much I desire that the Year to come will be steeped in mercy, so that we can go out to every human man and woman, bringing the goodness and tenderness of God”.

Many people may have a narrow understanding of mercy. There are words in sacred scripture which show how rich it truly is. It is described as a deep feeling of compassion, tenderness and kindness, moving people to respond to others needs.

Bishop's Heart and Mind - Care for our Common Home
This reflection of Bishop Justin's is adapted from Bishop Greg O'Kelly article in 'The Witness'.

Because of the enormous physical expanse of our Diocese, 1.3 million sq kms, going from Coorow and Leeman in the south, to Port and South Hedland in the north, and because we include fertile and arid lands, farming, pastoral stations, fishing and mining, producing cereal crops, and from mother earth minerals, oils and gas, the raising of sheep and cattle , and with the wild life of Kangaroo and Emu who flank our national crest, with the presence of the first Australians who bind themselves to the earth, and with all the majesty of the red earth and blue skies, with our coastal beauty, rugged  gorges and expansive crops in season, a letter from the Pope on care for the Earth should be something that we, as a Diocese, embrace with thanks and delight.

But this letter of the Holy Father is far from a poetic description of nature. It starts with the song of praise of Saint Francis of Assisi, but moves quickly to affirm that care of our planet obliges us to be involved, remembering that the poor are being oppressed through neglect of our conduct.  

Bishop's Heart and Mind - Support for our Middle East Christian Sisters and Brothers
After our Conference of Australian Bishops in May, I decided I would share a little news of the tragic plight of Christians in the Middle East.

In our Conference there are three Bishops, or Eparchs, of the Churches which originate from the Middle East:- the Maronite Church from Lebanon; the Melkite Church mainly from Syria; and the Chaldean Church from Iraq. Over the years, and in recent times, members of these Churches have migrated to Australia and so each of these Churches now have a Bishop here.

We have two Bishops Conferences a year, one in May and one in November. At our November Conference in 2014 the Bishops of the Middle East spoke of the distressful situation of their, and our, fellow Christians in the Middle East. The situation has arisen because of the terrible conflict in these countries and the persecution, isolation and killing of Christians, particularly in Iraq.

The three Bishops, in speaking of the distressful situation spoke also of their concern for these people and the support that they and their own Dioceses wish to offer. They also asked for the support of the wider Church in Australia.