In 1962, I moved from the Brigidine Convent at Indooroopilly in Brisbane to St Joseph's College, Nudgee Junior, under the care of the Christian Brothers. I was an impressionable eight-year-old and was in grade three, writes Fr Frank Brennan SJ in Eureka Street
I well recall Brother Pender taking the class up to the top floor of the school. We gathered outside the chapel in front of the large portrait of our Lady of Perpetual Succour. Brother told us that there were very significant events occurring in Rome. Pope John XXIII had convened a Vatican Council. We were instructed to pray for all the bishops because this council would affect the future of the church.
I have no real recollection of the prayers we offered, and thus am not in a position to say whether or not they were answered. But I know that things have changed very significantly in the Church and in the world since that group of eight-year-old boys offered prayer and supplication.
For 30 of those intervening 50 years, John Dobson has been the parish priest in Caloundra, guiding the 13 faith communities in this region.
He has accompanied the faithful in good times and in bad; he buried their parents, married them, and baptised their children. He has challenged and supported them as he has broken open the word at the pulpit and broken the bread at the altar.
Though I come originally from Queensland, I have spent most of my life as a priest in the south where people love to compare Sydney and Melbourne Catholicism. Some think there is no other. But as I often tell my friends south of the Tweed, no matter what side of the Murray they live on: no-one does it quite as ecumenically, quite as incarnationally immersed in the daily lives and world of others, and quite as laidback as in Queensland.
There is something distinctive and admirable about Queensland Catholicism. And it is summed up in our friend and priest John Dobson. Where else would you find a parish priest as Chancellor of a University?
FULL STORY An exemplar of Queensland Catholicism (Eureka Street)