Six decades of service to the faithful of Canberra by the Dominican order has come to an end. Source: Catholic Voice.
The order made the difficult decision earlier this year to leave the national capital due to declining numbers of religious and the inability to maintain a viable local clerical community.
Their departure was marked by a final Mass of thanksgiving at the Blackfriars Parish in the Church of the Holy Rosary at Watson in Canberra’s north on December 3.
Canberra-Goulburn Archbishop Christopher Prowse was the principal celebrant for the Mass. During his homily, he thanked the Dominicans for their “tremendous contribution” to the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn over such a long period of time.
They were the “specialists” in teaching and preaching, he said, who had provided “great pastoral service” and were farewelled “with a great deal of love and graciousness”.
“We regret they are leaving us but we understand the challenges they face in Australia in these troubled times.”
Outgoing parish priest Fr Mannes Tellis said he would take with him memories of the “kindness and fraternity” of the archdiocese’s priests.
He also said his parishioners had been an “incredible support”.
“They are wonderful – they have a lot of talent and organisational skills and have taken on board a lot of things for the parish.”
The farewell Mass for the Dominicans was concelebrated by Dominican Father provincial Fr Dominic Murphy OP, outgoing parish priest Fr Mannes Tellis, Fr Kevin Saunders OP, Fr Lawrie Foot OP and the parish’s incoming priest, Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament Father Renoir Oliver.