Canberra bishop meets with priests no longer in active ministry
17 former active priests who live in the Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese met earlier this month with Auxiliary Bishop Pat Power in a further step of reconciliation stemming from the spirit of the Jubilee Year.
Catholic Voice reports that an evening barbecue at the Canberra home of Clem and Noreen Dick, which included their wives, followed a gathering Bishop Power held with five of the men in his office last year.
A separate group of 23 men, who once served in this Archdiocese but who live across Australia and overseas, received a letter from Archbishop Francis Carroll and Bishop Power last year after a meeting of the Archdiocese's Council of Priests had asked them to write to the men.
Bishop Power said the informal meeting had been characterised by a spirit of openness and acceptance where some of the group had met for the first time and others had renewed friendships.
"I think of the ecumenical movement, which the Pope has described as a journey. This is a journey, too," he said.
"I hope this is leading to a greater appreciation and acceptance of these men, what they have done and who they are now, as well as affirmation of their wives and their family lives. You could speculate on where it might lead in terms of their gifts."
Bishop Power said most of the group was interested in taking part in further social gatherings together.