A Cairns priest stuck on the western side of Cape York due to floodwaters closing Cairns airport has boarded a cargo ship in the hope of making it home to his parish for Christmas. Source: The Catholic Leader.
Polish priest Fr Dariusz Osinski boarded a cargo ship from Weipa yesterday afternoon to sail around Cape York in the hopes of returning to his parishioners in Cairns’ Northern Beaches.
He thanked God for the chance to be with his flock, who had been badly affected by the flooding triggered by unprecedented rain brought by tropical cyclone Jasper.
“This opportunity came and I believe by the grace of God, I can go and be with my parish,” he said.
Weipa falls under Fr Osinski’s pastoral care and although the mining town mostly empties out over Christmas, he travelled there last Friday to celebrate Mass for the workers and locals who were staying there over holidays.
The sky was overcast when he arrived, but the rains started pouring over the weekend and did not stop.
Cairns airport was flooded and his return flight slated for yesterday was cancelled. The next flight would not be until December 28.
Fr Osinki said he was concerned that Northern Beaches parish, the largest parish diocese, would be without a priest for Christmas. He said his parish needed his spiritual support at this time, too. Houses and businesses had flooded in the area and many people had been evacuated.
One of Fr Osinki’s parishioners who works in the ports was able to secure a place for him on the cargo ship leaving Weipa.
Another area cut off from Cairns is Mossman. Parish priest Fr Martin Kenny said most of the damages to the area came after Jasper had passed.
The creek at the back of town broke its banks, he said, and water and mud came pouring through.
“It went right through town but it’s also come through the school and church here,” he said.
“It hasn’t caused structural damage but it’s flooded all the low-lying rooms of the school and the church so we probably won’t be able to have Mass here on Sunday because of it, or for that note, Christmas.”
Cairns priest stuck in Weipa boards cargo ship hoping to get home in time for Christmas (By Joe Higgins, The Catholic Leader)