President’s Report
St Mary’s Parish Pastoral Council
AGM 2021

What ever happened to 2020? I printed out a copy of my report from 2019 to give me a starting point for tonight’s meeting, we achieved so much in that year and then in 2020 everything came to a grinding halt.

I personally would like to thank Father Owen for his leadership through the pandemic and to Patti and Kristie for solely holding our Parish together. Thank you also to Father Dong for your supporting role particularly in the early months of last year when our Mass was delivered on-line. This was an amazing initiative and allowed so many of our community to celebrate Mass and to stay connected until it was deemed safe enough for people to return to physical church, in a Covid-safe environment. A great deal of extra work was involved and again I thank Father Owen, Kristie and Patti for their commitment.

On behalf of Pastoral Council I would like to thank Patti Kiddle for her many years of service to our Parish and wish her every happiness in her retirement. I would also like to welcome Krista O’Brien to our Parish Office.

During 2019, we began work on a Bereavement ministry. The Bathurst Diocese also were keen to formalise this ministry throughout their parishes and we were selected to assist in developing some guidelines. We were a small group, some from Pastoral Council and some from the wider church community who met and identified many issues moving this ministry forward. It became fairly evident in our early meetings that there were too many variations in the Diocese and that we needed to concentrate on a more local approach. Father Owen was very supportive and has indicated that he is very keen to get something happening this year.

During 2019 we also began to work on more Parish hospitality events. These included ladies luncheons, men’s breakfast, after Mass morning tea and a Christmas function. In recent conversations with Father Owen he has indicated that he would like to continue with these events in this coming year.

Pastoral Council continues to work closely with St Matthews School and we are grateful for the leadership of Angela and her team as they work towards the build of a new senior school as well as maintaining a fully functioning school on the present site. Due to the pandemic, 2020 saw many changes to the traditional way we celebrated the sacraments including First Communion and Confirmation.

I would like to acknowledge the work and commitment that Anne McLean has given over the years to our Parish, particularly her involvement in the sacraments and in her wider role in the diocese.

I will be stepping down from Parish Council tonight – sad that my last year as President was such a non-event and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your wonderful support over the past 4 years and wish you well keeping the Parish of St Mary’s a strong and vibrant community of love and caring.

Julie Keipert