This weekend at our parish Masses, Fr David Catterall (parish priest at St Mary MacKillop Catholic Parish, Oran Park) shared an update on his latest health challenges.
As many of you may well remember, in the year 2000 – just prior to his priestly ordination – Fr David was diagnosed with male breast cancer. A further health scare followed in 2005, when it was thought the cancer had spread to Fr David’s ribs. Thank God that tumour was benign. In 2014 Fr David was diagnosed with a tumour identified as non-Hodgkin lymphoma and fortunately, after six months chemotherapy, he was able to resume his duties as pastor. He then was diagnosed with early prostate cancer in 2017 where he undertook surgery, and in 2019 he underwent a course of salvage radiotherapy.
Following recent PSA blood tests, a PSMA-PET scan, and a lung biopsy (undertaken during an overnight stay in Hospital) Fr David has now been diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer with pulmonary metastases, that is prostate cancer in his lungs; and will see him undergo a course of chemotherapy over 4-5 months. This treatment will begin tomorrow (Monday 11th September)
While Fr David will remain in his ministry as Parish Priest of Oran Park, to ensure the continued smooth running of the parish during Fr David’s treatment, the priests from the parish of Eagle Vale and the Carmelite Friars (at Varroville) will assist with ‘day to day’ pastoral ministry, along with Masses at both Mass Centres (Leppington and Oran Park).
Fr David has asked us to pray for him and his family through the intercession of our patron St Mary MacKillop, to whom he attribute the positive and welcome outcomes of previous treatments, along with the Servant of God (please God, soon to be saint) Eileen O’Connor who is buried in her Congregation’s chapel in Coogee.
A special novena prayer leaflet to St Mary MacKillop and Eileen O’Connor can be downloaded below. This novena of 9 days, begins this Monday 11 September 2023) – the day of Fr David’s first chemo. Or can prayed over any consecutive 9 days.
St Mary MacKillop and Servant of God Eileen O’Connor, pray for us.
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Our diocesan logo is theologically rich and very succinct. As a hand, it depicts our mission as a diocese and as individuals within the diocese, of bearing (bringing, carrying) Christ’s love to one another and to the world around us. In this, we are the hand of Jesus Christ, and we are offering ourselves to him so that he might work through us.
We can be the bearers of his love only as a response to his call and in the strength of his grace. We are reminded of this in two ways—through the symbol of the dove (the Holy Spirit) also present in the logo, and by the incorporation of the cross that segments the logo. The presence of the cross is a reminder that bearing the love of Christ will inevitably cost us if we live it authentically. However, in the way that the Cross is the portent of redemption and life—an echo of the tree of life in the book of Genesis—so becoming bearers of the love of Christ will also bring us to life.
The four fingers of the hand also represent the four regions of our diocese. The first is bluerepresenting the beautiful water of the Shoalhaven. The second is a blue and green combination representing the waters and escarpment of the Illawarra. The third is greendepicting the hills and plains of the Macarthur. The fourth is dark green illustrating the forests of the Southern Highlands.