Category: Saint Bernardine’s – Browns Plains Parish

Merry Christmas to all readers of A secular priest!  Hope you are enjoying these days.

I am in the final throes of moving at the moment.  The removalists came Monday last week to move most of my things, which had been in storage at Mum’s.  Now that Christmas Day has come and gone, I am moving the last of my things from Regents Park to Annerley.  I have a couple of Masses here in Browns Plains parish this coming weekend, and then the final relocation will take place on Monday.

Officially from 4 January 2014 I am the Parish Priest of Annerley Ekibin parish, continuing also with my work in the Regional Tribunal.  I’ll be joined in the parish by Fr Paul Chandler who has been the Parish Priest of Banyo-Nundah Parish.  Both of us are members of the project that is working towards the eventual establishment of the Brisbane Oratory.

Please pray for us as we take up work and residence in Annerley Ekibin.

I didn’t realise that this was going to be a “big news” week!

Following the news I shared the other day about my involvement in the Brisbane Oratory in Formation, it has just been announced that I will be Parish Priest of Annerley Ekibin from January 4th, 2014.  I will also be continuing with my work in the Regional Tribunal.

I will be sad to say good-bye to the people of Browns Plains Parish, and feel I was starting to settle in to things there.  However, I am also excited about being a Parish Priest again.  Co-incidently, my brother and I were both baptized in Mary Immaculate Church, Annerley, and Mum was also Confirmed there.

My posting as Parish Priest will be until such time as when the Brisbane Oratory in Formation community comes together and begins our phase of life as a Society of Apostolic Life of diocesan right (that is, under the immediate supervision of the Archbishop).

tony Girvan

Photography lesson: A group of Rwandan children get an impromptu lesson on photography from Fr Tony Girvan during a wildlife photography trip to Africa.

We have just started announcing at the Masses this Sunday that the new Parish Priest for Saint Bernardine’s from January 2014 will be Fr Anthony Girvan, who is presently the Parish Priest of Saint Patrick’s, Beenleigh.

We look forward to welcoming Fr Tony in the new year.

A slight correction to the Mass times listed for the coming week:

Mass this coming Friday, 20 September, 2013 at Saint Bernardine’s, Regents Park, is on at the normal 7:30am time.

(N.B. There will be no Friday morning Mass on Friday 27 September.  Following that, there are no foreseen interruptions to the Friday morning Mass until some time next year).

st bernardine's parish logoThere will be an extra, unscheduled Mass at Saint Bernardine’s church, Regents Park, at 7:30am this Thursday 29 August 2013 (the Memorial of the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist).  The church will be open from 6:15am.

Just a reminder, too, that the regular Friday Mass at Saint Bernardine’s will be at 6:30am for this Friday only (30 August 2013).  The Fathers’ Day Blessing will follow in the church at 7:15am.  Friday Mass will return to the normal 7:30am time the following week.

Those who might be attending Mass this Friday, 30 August 2013, at Saint Bernardine’s, Regents Park, are asked to note that for this week only, Mass will be celebrated at 6:30am (instead of 7:30am).

This is due to the Prayer and Blessing for Fathers – since it is Fathers’ Day this coming Sunday – which will take place at 7:15am in the church.

From this week I will be offering Mass on Friday mornings at 7:30am at Saint Bernardine’s, Regents Park.

Please confirm that the Mass is on (which it will be, unless I’m away) in the parish newsletter.  The current newsletter each week can be found online at

On Tuesday morning, 29 January 2013, I celebrated Mass with the staff of Saint Bernardine’s School, Regents Park.

The following is my homily:

If I were to do a little survey and ask you what you remember most about your own school days, I’m quite sure the answers would not be: we had a great curriculum;  we had the best designed classrooms and school buildings;  the timetable was really well organized.  I’m sure that your memories of your own schooling would most probably be about people: maybe your classmates, but probably too about teachers.  I remember Mrs so-and-so.  We probably don’t remember the classes, but we remember those people from our own schooling who made a personal impact on us.  We remember the teacher who recognised us as individuals who acknowledged our talents, who transmitted to us that we were capable, capable of doing more than we had imagined, teachers who helped and encouraged us when things were not going well, and teachers who quietly rejoiced in our small successes.”  (Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, 23 September 2010:


You don’t need me to tell you that children today are very aware of what’s going on in our world: its good things, and its problems.  It’s impossible for them not to be.  From an early age children are witness to social discourse in ways that not so long ago we had no idea about.  Moreover, children grow up in families where all the successes and failures of our western culture are lived and breathed from day to day.


Despite the difference in context, young people still need and look for models – anchors – that they can use as they chart their course in life.  The young people who come to St Bernardine’s will be looking at you.  Just as the people were watching Jesus closely to see what kind of person he was.  The students of St Bernardine’s – whether they acknowledge it or not – will be noticing what type of person you are: do you care about them?  is this just a job for you?  are you truthful?  They’ll pick up on your values – even your morals!


This is a challenge!  It’s a call to conversion.  Who do we want to be for the young people of Saint Bernardine’s?  What do we want them to remember about us?


As we hear the familiar first reading, describing the diversity of gifts given by the one Holy Spirit, on one level we could apply it to ourselves as the staff of St Bernardine’s.  All of us here have to find creative ways of working with each other, mindful that we all have differing abilities, differing gifts.  We have to bring forth our own abilities, and be respectful of others as they do the same.  We have to confront jealousy in ourselves which is one of the great destroyers of team work.


But on another level too, we could apply the first reading to our students.  They too have been gifted by the same Holy Spirit with a diversity of gifts.  And it’s our task as educators – as people charged with the formation of the young – to help those gifts emerge and grow.  The teachers who did that for us are truly the ones we remember.  The ones who could see something in us, and who encouraged us, who challenged us.


Today as we offer this Mass, let’s ask God to pour all his graces upon us as begin a new year of working together.  Let’s pray for schools everywhere, and particularly those schools in our own region who may have a difficult beginning of the year with the floods.  Let’s pray that God will help each of us to be people of authenticity, people who truly want to make a difference in the lives of the young people entrusted to our care.

In Saint Bernardine’s Church, Regents Park, on Tuesday morning – 29 January 2013 – at 8.30am, Mass will be offered for and with the staff of  Saint Bernardine’s School.

We ask God’s blessing on all that we will do in the academic year ahead.

Due to the weather, possibility of flooding, and power cuts, the 5.30pm Mass at St Catherine’s, Jimboomba tonight – Sunday 27 January 2013, is cancelled.