As the invitation more than hinted, there was a distinctly Pythonesque flavour to a highly entertaining and, at times, profoundly moving, tribute to Brian’s ministry.
There was tremendous warmth (and yes, it was a hot day) towards Brian, his parents Margaret and Ron, brother John and extended family. In fact, Brian himself used the newly-coined term ‘framily’ to acknowledge all those who are important to him – family, friends, colleagues and associates, fellow clergy and members of religious congregations.
Master of Ceremonies Fr Andrew Doohan admitted that “this afternoon is all about Brian” and “The Brian Song” – he grew up to be…a boy called Brian…a teacher called Brian…a bishop called Brian ‒ (thanks Anne Millard and Ailis Macpherson) was such fun it was worthy of an encore!
Brian’s episcopal accoutrements – pectoral cross, ring, mitre and crozier were blessed and his “episcopal clobber” ‒ soutane, choir dress, ordination ensemble ‒ was presented to him.
The formal proceedings concluded with the assembly singing a blessing on him (as he has so often done for us):
We wish you love, and strength and faith and wisdom,
good gold enough to help some needy one.
We wish you songs, but also blessed silence
and God’s sweet peace when every day is done.
© Music: James Maher msc. Administered by Willow Publishing Pty Ltd. Reprinted under One License #A-624954.
After the formalities there was plenty of time for fellowship and refreshment and to chat with Bishop-Elect Brian before he heads south.
The creative souls behind all this frivolity and fun were Katherine Muscat (who produced the video tribute to the Life of Brian in Newcastle), Anne Millard, Mark Spencer, Andrew Doohan and Louise Gannon. Afterwards Louise said: “It’s one thing to prepare the event, but it takes a community to celebrate it. It would have been nothing without the love, laughter and prayer of the community. People seemed to have enjoyed the evening.”
Representatives from the Diocese of Wollongong, Paul and Margaret Mason, were left in no doubt that while our diocese will sorely miss Brian, the ‘Gong’s getting a good one!
The Ordination of Bishop-Elect Brian Mascord will take place on 22 February. Click here to read more about his ordination.