How do you thank a great man and loyal friend?
Bishop Peter Ingham has been both an inspiring leader and a friend to so many. He is a well-loved figure in the community and retires from his position as Bishop of Wollongong in 2018.
Catholic schools across the Illawarra, Macarthur, Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands joined together to thank Bishop Peter for his great work and dedication to Catholic education in our Diocese.
It was a joyful celebration held at Dapto Parish Church. Large gift boxes were presented to Bishop Peter in front of the audience of 500, including representatives from every school in the Wollongong Diocese. The liturgy was also live-streamed to the entire Catholic system of schools.
The gifts were an acknowledgement of the Bishop's leadership over the past 16 years.
Suz Marden, CEDoW's Senior Professional Officer and Team Leader Staff Spiritual Formation, coordinated the liturgy and chose the traits that most resonate with staff and students when they think of Bishop Peter. He is well known for his wisdom, hope, witness, joy, service, faithfulness, integrity, commitment ... and humour!
Accordingly, Year 1 student, Katrina Gallagher was the last to present this gift to him with her own knock knock joke.
In the final procession of gifts, Katrina wearing a very cute clown outfit, jumped from the box labelled 'humour' and ran up to Bishop Peter to ask, "will you remember me?" everyone joined in the laughter. He confirmed and nodded. "Yes I will remember you."
Katrina then delivered her joke "Knock knock"
Bishop Peter "Who's there?"
Katrina smiled "You said you would remember me!"
... and he most certainly will and we will remember too!
There will be many more celebrations this year, both to farewell Bishop Peter and to welcome our new Bishop, Bishop Brian Mascord.
As with all big celebrations, there was cake. The cake reiterated the farewell message: "For all that has been ... grateful thanks. For all that will be ... Yes."
Thank you Bishop Peter!