Blessing and Opening of CatholicCare Social Services in Gloucester

Under a perfect blue sky on a warm winter’s day, CatholicCare opened its Gloucester office to provide support to the local community and areas beyond. Invited guests joined with Bishop Bill Wright and CatholicCare Director Ms Helga Smit to witness the introduction of much needed mental health and support services to the area.

Born and bred resident and Aboriginal elder, Aunty Norma Fisher, welcomed the gathering to the Worimi land and captured the spirit of the day when she hoped we "may all cherish our time together and leave with peace in our hearts".

Ms Smit was candid when she mentioned that the project was not only a result of hard work on the part of many involved, but also contained "a dash of blind faith" that brought the office to Gloucester. “This is Chapter 5 in the CatholicCare journey following Newcastle, Maitland, Cardiff and Taree offices," Ms Smit said. The organisation has now responded to an identified need for social services in Gloucester.

Calling on the local geography, Ms Smit said the service was like the three river system in the area – Avon akin to the child, family and youth services; Barrington representing the mental health and counselling arm; and Gloucester symbolic of the people making it happen. Just as the rivers are symbolic so are the key principles behind the office – unity, quality and sustainability as CatholicCare invites the community to "walk the journey in a joint venture".

The angelic voices of the students and teachers from St Joseph’s Primary School, Gloucester warmed the hearts of the crowd as they sang the verses and performed the actions of two hymns, ‘These Hands' and ‘Gathered Together’.

Bishop Bill officially opened and blessed  the building as well as the CatholicCare staff and the parish Leadership Team. The building will serve a dual purpose and house the parish office.

The final word belonged to Ms Smit who was not only excited but confident that with hope, reassurance, guidance and support CatholicCare will truly make a difference in the local community.

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Helene O'Neill Image
Helene O'Neill

Helene O'Neill is the Parish-Family Liaison Officer for the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

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