It was hearing that people in Wilcannia felt they were being left alone in their time of need that prompted Bishop Columba Macbeth-Green OSPPE to figure out a way to offer whatever help he could. Source: The Catholic Weekly.
The tiny outback community in the far west of New South Wales had recorded a cluster of cases of COVID-19 and been put into lockdown.
Its majority Aboriginal population, sheer remoteness, crowded and often poor-quality housing plus limited healthcare resources made it especially vulnerable.
The Wilcannia-Forbes bishop’s offer to local community leaders to provide pastoral and spiritual support and to authorities to offer his services as an experienced police chaplain were gratefully accepted.
So earlier this month, Bishop Macbeth-Green drove seven hours from his Forbes chancery to the stricken town.
Dressed in a blue surgical gown over trackies, polo shirt and wearing his large silver episcopal cross, the bishop is not only there to support parishioners and families of St John the Apostle Catholic Church and St Therese’s Community Parish School, but everyone in Wilcannia as he volunteers alongside the police, defence force personnel, community elders and volunteers.
The locals couldn’t be happier to see him bringing groceries and sanitary supplies, with a willingness to stop for a “yarn” or play a tune on his beloved bagpipes by their front door or outside one of the Government-supplied caravans recently provided for people’s isolation.
Lending a hand in Wilcannia (By Marilyn Rodrigues, The Catholic Weekly)