From the time of his arrival in 2000, Fr John has supported, encouraged, loved and cared for our community. He learnt Auslan to be able to guide Deaf people, their families and the JPC staff, in spiritual development.
We thank you Fr John, you will be sorely missed.
From The Chaplains Desk: (this message appeared in the March 2019 newsletter)
As some of you already know, I have finished working at JPC, and have moved to Sydney. I belong to an international community of priests and brothers, and have been asked to work from Sydney in our leadership team. So, my work with the Deaf has come to an end — at least for now.
I will certainly miss the Deaf community at JPC. I started there in 2000, went to Perth in 2005, came back to Melbourne started again with JPC in 2009.
As you know, I don’t have any Deaf background (no family or friends who are deaf). I believe that
God led me to the Deaf community. Your world and your culture were very new for me. I had a lot to learn, and after 15 or so years at JPC, I was still learning, and probably still making the same mistakes as I did in the beginning!.
But my time with you have been one of the most valuable in my life. I’m very grateful for the trust you put in me as you let me into your lives. At JPC I was with you in times of celebration and ones of sadness. I was blessed to be able to celebrate baptisms, first communions, confirmations, marriages, and funerals.
In these kind of celebrations the presence of Jesus was very real, and I was touched very deeply I will always remember them.
The experience of celebrating Mass with you in sign has meant a lot to me because signing made me feel more involved in the celebration than if I was just using my voice. In the future, when I celebrate Mass for a hearing community, I don’t know what I am going to do with my hands!!
I also want to thank you the patience you (especially Deaf staff at JPC) showed with my not-so-good signing. Over the years the admin staff at JPC and the members of the pastoral team have been very good to me, and I want to thank them especially.
So, I wish you all every blessing for the future.
The future of JPC is not just in your hands, but is also in the hands of God. Just as he led me to the Deaf community, so I am sure he will lead new people to come and work among you.
Our celebration of Easter reminds us that, although we go through times of uncertainty and suffering, God will provide a future for us. Happy Easter!!!
John Hill CSSR