We have the privilege of praying for our departed members, especially at the altar. All of us remember those near and dear to us who have died: our parents and family members, dear parishioners and friends.

As ACCC members we have bid farewell to many members in the course of the years and we are acutely aware of the priest members who have gone before us; men who have shaped the Church in our time, influenced our own priestly lives and who have given much to the growth and consolidation of the ACCC.

In the last months we have bid farewell to two giants of the priesthood: Monsignor Frank Lyons and Fr Rod Bray. Both of these priests served as Chairman of the ACCC and were influential and instrumental in the establishment of the Confraternity. The early days of the Confraternity ( or Association, as it was first called) were difficult days, as we needed to establish our credentials. The priestly example and experience of men like Msgr Lyons and Fr Bray enabled the Confraternity to establish links with bishops, priests and other members of Christ’s faithful.

In this edition of The Priest, a special tribute is made to Fr Rod Bray. It outlines the rich and unique priestly life of this gentle man. In the next edition of our journal a special tribute will be made to Mgr Lyons.

Some members of the Confraternity participated recently in the retreat directed by Fr Ronan Kilgannon. The partcipants report an excellent time of prayer led by an insightful and experienced director.

Whilst on holidays I had the privilege of being present at the opening of the Domus Australia in Rome by Pope Benedict XVI. The Domus offers Australian pilgrims a very comfortable and welcoming base in Rome. The Rector, Fr Anthony Denton is a member of the ACCC and would welcome any members of the ACCC to Rome who choose to stay there.

The bishops of Australia have just completed their Ad Limina visit to Rome. Amongst the several matters the Holy Father bought up with our bishops, he gave the bishops a charge to encourage and enable catechesis at all levels. He said:

All the members of the Church need to be formed in their faith, from a sound catechesis for children, and religious education imparted in your Catholic schools, to much-needed catechetical programs for adults. Clergy and religious must also be assisted and encouraged by an ongoing formation of their own, with a deepened spiritual life in the rapidly secularising world around them.

This extends a challenge to members of the ACCC to redouble their efforts in guiding the catechesis of children and youth entrusted to our care, as well as providing attractive and solid catechesis of adults. We should be well equiped for this work by the excellent input we received from Fr Marcus Holden in our recent Annual Conference.

As I conclude these brief words, may I encourage all priests of the ACCC to embrace with fervor and intelligence the new english translation of the Mass, witnessed in the new Roman Missal that has been published. This affords us the opportunity to deepen our own reverent and faithful celebration of the Sacred Liturgy to the glory of God and for the sanctification of Christ’s faithful.

Rev John Walshe is parish priest of Mentone in the Archdiocese of Melbourne. He is a founding member and current National Chairman of the ACCC.