Marriage milestones galore out west

“We not me, ours not mine,” Young’s David Patterson responded when Archbishop Christopher Prowse asked him to share the secret to a long and happy marriage.

Speaking at the recent Western Deanery Assembly on mercy in marriage and family life, Mr Patterson spoke fondly about the 50 years he had been married to Valerie.

western deanery

Members of the Western Deanery assembled in Young recently. Picture: John McLaurin.

The couple celebrated their golden wedding anniversary on the day of the assembly and had their vows renewed and blessed by Archbishop Prowse.

They weren’t the only couple celebrating a milestone.

Michael and Bernadette Mullany, from Young, were celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary a few days after the assembly.

Not to be outdone, Jack and Meg Grant were honouring 67 years of commitment to each other through marriage.

In his keynote address, Archbishop Prowse spoke on the topic of vulnerability, a key theme in the Jubilee Year of Mercy.

He shared personal accounts of his family’s struggles and encouraged the faithful to do the same.

“We need to be vulnerable in our lives,” he said.

“That is where the wounds are and that is where we are healed. By your wounds you are healed.”

Each parish gave a presentation reflecting pressing issues they faced.

Representatives from the parishes and parish missions of Cootamundra, Tumut, Temora, West Wyalong and Young each spoke for about 20 minutes, delivering the key findings from their communities.

Some of the main concerns to emerge were youth, being made to feel welcome, lack of Mass attendances, communication, the ageing population in parishes, connection to parish schools, faith formation and sacramental programs.

After listening to the findings from each of the parishes, Archbishop Prowse concluded the assembly by offering words of encouragement and hope.

Speaking after the gathering, Dean of the Western Deanery Fr Tom Thornton said there was plenty of good to come from what transpired at the meeting.

“The assembly proved to be a very fascinating day due mainly to the contributions of the people from the deanery,” he said.

“From the conversations that I had with participants, it was a very worthwhile experience and some follow-up at a parish and mission level will occur in the coming year.”

Parish Pastoral Support Coordinator for the Archdiocese, Sharon Brewer outlined the process in making available the assembly findings for deaneries and parishes.

“A short report will be prepared that will give an overview of the five assemblies and a summary of the key findings,” she said.

“Each dean has been provided with a comprehensive report so that local matters can be addressed at the grass-roots level.”