back to top
Thursday, May 30, 2024
11.5 C
Sydney

Health and spirituality a focus at conference for senior clergy

Most read

Fr Win Hoekstra, Parish Priest of St Michael’s Parish in Baulkham Hills, asks a question during the seminar. Deacons, priests and bishops from across six NSW dioceses participated in the event for senior clergy, the first of its kind. Photo: Alphonsus Fok
Fr Wim Hoekstra, Parish Priest of St Michael’s Parish in Baulkham Hills, asks a question during the seminar. Deacons, priests and bishops from across six NSW dioceses participated in the event for senior clergy, the first of its kind. Photo: Alphonsus Fok

Advancing years may gradually bring more infirmity—but they bring the gift of time as an opportunity to draw closer to God, older deacons and priests from across NSW heard at a special gathering last week.

Spirituality and men’s health were the focus when more than 50 priests and deacons gathered from across six New South Wales dioceses at the Good Shepherd Seminary in Homebush on 13 April for a conference focused on their stage of life and the needs and issues peculiar to growing older.

The conference was the first in what is planned to be an annual event.

- Advertisement -

Broken Bay emeritus Bishop David Walker, who led the diocese for 17 years and is 85, gave a presentation on a spirituality of ageing before one of his successors, current Broken Bay Bishop Anthony Randazzo, led the celebration of a healing Mass.

Men’s health, focusing on depression, cognitive impairment and dementia were also on the agenda in a presentation by Sydney GP Dr Ashley Morgan.

Bishop Walker said that while life’s later years often come with major life changes and challenges, they are also an invitation to foster, deepen and express one’s relationship with Jesus.

“The ageing years can be a time in which this relationship is recognised anew for its importance and a time to focus on bringing it to a new intimacy,” he said.

While they may be retired from active ministry, clergy remain “priests forever” and a ministry of prayer and thanksgiving will always be an important and urgent need, he added.

Ageing is also time of acceptance of God’s will, including the certainty of death which is “not something that just happens, but a positive meeting with the Lord”, the bishop said.

“We might not age as we would like to. Even if we have aged well, the future is yet to come, and we need to prepare ourselves to accept what the Lord will bring in our future.”

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -