by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Pelican : June 2009
A true voice of the people Bishop Patrick Power, Canberra’s ‘Citizen of the Year’. Bishop Pat Power is an example to us all of how to put the ‘passion’ into ‘compassion’. A tireless champion of the underdog, his work reminds us all of how small steps can result in huge strides, and that a little respect and a lot of love can go a very long way. Speaking from Favier House in mid-April, Bishop Power was clearly honoured – and surprised – by his recent award of Canberra’s ‘Citizen of the Year’. He shouldn’t have been surprised – almost every marginalised group in the region would have felt the power of the Bishop’s support and goodwill. This includes people who may not have previously expected such welcome support from the Catholic Church, including divorced people, gay people, the mentally ill, Aboriginal people, refugees and asylum seekers. Bishop Power sees his role as Bishop of the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn as a golden opportunity to embrace all humanity and extend the hand of love and friendship where it may not have been offered before. “I was lucky enough”, Bishop Power says, “to have grown up in a loving family with solid Christian values. My father instilled in me a great sense of justice, and from my mother I received the priceless gift of unconditional love. These early values helped to lead me to the Church and have encouraged me to do whatever I can to give everyone an equal voice in the community.” Bishop Power was in two minds when offered the esteemed position of Bishop at the relatively young age of 44 – he was honoured and welcomed the challenge, but he was loathe to leave behind the parishioners with whom he’d built such wonderful friendships. Not that he has any regrets – he quickly realised that as Bishop he could really make a difference, and that’s exactly what he has done. He’s still in touch with many of his school friends from St Christopher’s, St Edmund’s and Chevalier College (Bowral) and he says he’ll always be grateful to his teachers who, without knowing it, nurtured his faith and his vocation to the priesthood. “Like many high school students”, he says, “I wasn’t sure what God wanted me to do with my life. I felt drawn to the priesthood but was unsure if that was what God wanted of me. A priest friend in my final year of high school suggested I should think seriously about the priesthood, so I decided I’d give it six months and see how things went. I guess they went pretty well!” Bishop Power was reminded of St Edmund’s motto, ‘Christ is my Light’, when he spoke at a recent assembly, and he hopes students, parents and teachers alike can find ways of applying this motto to their everyday lives. “Often it’s the little things that can have an impact”, he says, “like taking the time to really listen to someone’s problems, even if you don’t know all the answers. Also, I think sometimes we’re too quick to judge and we don’t try hard enough to see things from someone else’s point of view.” Without Bishop Power’s passion, compassion and humanity, many marginalised people in the Canberra region may still be searching for a voice. 3