Bishops to share life stories at forum

THE path of a Bishop is a noble one, often shrouded with mystery.

Bishops Garry Weatherill (left) and Paul Bird will host a forum to discuss their life experiences.
PICTURE: dylan burns

Bishops Garry Weatherill (left) and Paul Bird will host a forum to discuss their life experiences. PICTURE: dylan burns

But next month, two of Ballarat’s most renowned religious leaders – Catholic Bishop Paul Bird and Anglican Bishop Garry Weatherill – will host a forum unveiling the story of their lives.

For Bishop Bird, who grew up in a strong Catholic family in Newcastle, he felt his destiny was marked out when he completed high school.

“I was either going to be a doctor, a teacher or a priest,” Bishop Bird said. 

“For me, it was about following a career that helped people.”

At the age of 17, he joined the priesthood and embarked on a career in the Catholic Church which has spanned almost 50 years. 

Bishop Bird said he viewed his role in the community as being a unifying person who  worked towards harmony for all. 

But for Bishop Weatherill, the religious calling did not come until later in life, when he joined the priesthood at age 24.

He grew up in South Australia and sought refuge with the church after his father left his mother when he was 10. 

“God has always been very real for me,” Bishop Weatherill said. 

“I came from a small family and when my parents broke up, I got involved in the youth group at my parish.

“The young priests there always impressed me. I guess I was looking for a type of father figure and I thought that if I could somehow have the role they had in my life for somebody else, then that would be a wonderful thing.”

He said the forum would also delve into their values and faith. 

“As bishops, we often spend a lot more time listening than talking,” Bishop Weatherill said. 

“By sharing our individual stories, hopefully it will resonate with people in different ways.

“It’s great to listen to other people’s stories because it enlightens your own vision, your own consciousness.

“It opens up our capacity to understand people of diverse backgrounds.”

Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council has organised the Life’s Journey summit.

It will be held on Thursday, September 4, at the Mr Rede Restaurant, 203 Dana Street, Ballarat, from 7pm.

Tickets cost $25 a person with supper included.

For details, contact Georgina Vagg on 0408 109 471 or 5335 7937.

melissa.cunningham@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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