Wangaratta Parish Pastoral Team Installation Mass

Wagnaratta NathanShibu AsenscionSunday2021Students form St Bernard’s College in Wangaratta acknowledged traditional custodians, the Pangerang People of the Yorta Yorta Nation with a formal Acknowledgement of Country, after which Mrs Patricia Boaks, Principal of St Bernard’s Primary School, welcomed parishioners and new Clergy to Wangaratta. “We are excited and look forward to working with our new pastors, praying with them, and growing our faith and the faith of all in our parish community,” she said.

Pastoral Ministry Team members were appointed by Bishop Shane in March 2021, they include:

Fr Nathan Verallo as Team Moderator and Pastoral Leader of St Patrick’s Wangaratta;

Fr Shibu Pezhumthottathil as Pastoral Leader of Our Lady’s Wangaratta South and Holy Cross, Moyhu;

Fr Des Welladsen as Team Mentor; and

Mr Dan Murphy as Team Facilitator.

The letter appointing the Pastoral Ministry Team to their roles was read to the congregation and the team members. “I pray that this appointment will bring rich blessings to the people you are called to serve and that you yourself will find joy in living out your ministry,” wrote Bishop Mackinlay in the letter.
The Pastoral Team members professed their willingness to take on their new office in the Church before the Church community.

Bishop Shane said that the Ministry Team members each had a particular role to encourage, support and guide the life of the Church, particularly in the parishes of Wangaratta, Wangaratta South and Moyhu. He said other roles might be added to the Team in the time ahead and that the Ministry Team is to reflect and consult together with parish communities to set out more clearly the responsibilities of these roles.

Bishop Shane said the Feast of the Ascension was an appropriate day to entrust the leadership of the continuing mission in the Wangaratta Parishes to the new Ministry Team, because the Ascension marks the return of Jesus to the Father, and Jesus entrusting the mission that he had been entrusted with, in turn, to us.

This feast of the Ascension is one that highlights Jesus’ absence,” said Bishop Shane. “The Ascension marks the end of Jesus’ earthly presence.” said Bishop Shane.

“Jesus’ return to the Father is the beginning of a new age. An age that stands between the two Comings of Jesus in our world; between his birth in Bethlehem and the return that he promises at the end of time. It marks the awaiting; it marks being left behind, being left alone …” he said.

Bishop Shane continued, “But we are not completely on our own, because this absence is a new way of being present, which we will mark next Sunday with the Feast of Pentecost the sending of God’s Spirit; the Spirit which animated Jesus; which filled him and gave him that great sense of mission to go and proclaim and build up God’s Kingdom in our world. That same spirit is given to his disciples and, in turn, to us.

So, the Ascension, and Pentecost that follows it, mark Jesus’ personal ministry amongst us and the beginning of the handing on of that ministry to the Church. That age in which we continue to be recipients of the mandate, the commission that we heard in today’s Gospel, of Jesus saying to the eleven apostles “Go out to the whole world, proclaim the good news to all of creation.

”The Ascension marks an age in which Jesus is no longer physically present in his own body but, instead, is present in the body of Christ, which we become in being filled by his Spirit; which none of us can live on our own; which we can do only in our shared relationship to one another and our shared receiving of Jesus’ Spirit that filled him and gave him that strong sense of mission; and in union with him as the head of the body.”

Bishop Shane quoted St Teresa of Ávila: “She reflects on this quite beautifully — ‘Christ has no body now but yours, no hands, no feet on earth but yours; yours are the eyes through which he looks out his compassion to the world; yours are the feet with which he walks to do good …’ ”

Bishop Shane asked the Wangaratta parish communities to pray for the Ministry Team as they commit themselves to their particular responsibilities and to pray that “each of us may be renewed in our response to the way we are called to be part of the body of Christ, carrying on that mission entrusted to the disciples of Jesus, making him present in our world."

Bishop Shane gave a special welcome to the families of Fr Nathan Verallo and Fr Shibu Pezhumthottathil who were watching the live-streaming in the Philippines and India respectively.