It took four years of hard work and weekly trips to Sydney to receive his qualification.
Fr George studied through The Broken Bay Institute – The Australian Institute of Theological Education (BBI-TAITE). The course is the result of a world-first partnership between BBI and Saint Paul University, Ottawa, Canada (SPU) and this is the first time it has been offered.
The course provided comprehensive training in canon law and how best to apply the rules of the Church in a pastoral manner for the common good of the faithful.
Bishop Bill encouraged Fr George to complete the course, for which Fr George was thankful.
“I am very grateful to Bishop Bill and Maitland-Newcastle Diocese for allowing me to do canon law,” Fr George said. “Without their help I would not have been able to do it.”
Fr George completed the degree in August, graduated in November and received his certificate in December.
He can now practice as a canon lawyer where his duties could include filing annulments, giving precise direction to those in need and providing to people in “layman's terms” an exact interpretation of the law.
Fr George’s parish council in Taree was very proud of his achievement and wanted to celebrate with him. So, it decided to surprise him with a cruise on the Manning River.
"I thought it was just for a cup of coffee but it turned out to be a big gathering," Fr George said.
"When parishioners appreciate our ministry, the commitment moves deeper and I thank God that I was able to express my gratitude for the love and care shown by the parishioners."