Last weekend I went to Groote Eylandt to spend time and connect with the Catholic community on the Island.

It is a very multicultural community.  The main industry on the Island is the manganese mine, producing some of the finest in the world.

It is a very beautiful place in the Gulf of Carpentaria, surrounded by a pristine environment abounding in fish and other marine life.

There is a strong Catholic Tongan community who value their faith.

My pace of life was a lot slower than the normal.

On Saturday I spent time with three young people and their families who were to be Confirmed during Sunday Mass the following day.  The family of a little boy to be Baptised in the same Mass were also present.  It was a lovely encounter of faith sharing.

We celebrated Reconciliation with a good number of people afterwards.  We took our time, and I found it a very graced moment and felt the presence of the Lord with us.

On Sunday morning we had a full Church.  Most knew each other well, although there were some new people attending.

We celebrated Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.  Again, it was a special reminder of the gift of our faith,

Afterwards there was a shared morning tea, and people spent time chatting.

In the lovely afternoon, a large group of those present got together for a late lunch.

I was watching the little boy Ezekiel, Baptised that morning, being passed on from one adult to another.  He was left in no doubt how loved he is!

Lunch took its time.  Of course, the inevitable phone calls and emails chased me to that special place.  It was unavoidable and needed to happen. 

However, I was reminded in those two days how important it is for us not to lose our humanity.

I took some precious moments to connect with the sea, the birds, the environment, charged with the beauty and the grandeur of God.

The extended family atmosphere reminded me of my childhood.  Others, who were not blood related to each other, were also so well connected to each other.  It reminded me that the Church is a family.

I was also reminded to make time for contemplative moments in the ‘busyness’ of life.

It reminded me to stay human.

Bishop Charles Signature.jpg