FOURTEEN Catholic priests who have celebrated mass in Orange over several decades will return to the city in early June as guests at the parish’s 150th anniversary dinner.
While some of the priests were here in Orange for just a short time, the longest-serving priest Father Greg Kennedy said he formed many connections and friendships during his time here.
All the priests who returned to Orange for a diocesan seminar yesterday said they were looking forward to returning for the celebration.
“I really enjoyed my time here working with the people of Orange. I always remembered the words of Father Jim Guinn who told me ‘we don’t need programs, we need to love them’,” Father Kennedy said.
Fathers Tim Cahill and Paul Devitt said one of the major challenges for the church today was remaining relevant to the needs of society in a world where social media had such a key role, particularly in the lives of young people.
Father Cahill said while he knew of one young man in Cowra who may enter the priesthood, the future of the clergy lay in the growing numbers of priests being consecrated in Africa, Korea and Vietnam.
“Ours is a highly changing world and while the numbers of new priests in Australia and Europe, for example, is reduced, there is a huge growth in the church in those countries,” he said.
Father Devitt said another challenge facing the Catholic church and other religious organisations in Australia was the spotlight being thrown on child abuse by the Royal Commission.
“We have to re-establish trust because these people have let us all down. They need to be punished for what has gone on in the past,” he said.
People wishing to attend the dinner should call the parish office on 6362 2378 for tickets.