By Josh Low
With the Episcopal Ordination of Bishop Michael Morrissey occurring last week on 28 June, Bevan Wilkinson this week spoke to The eRecord about his friend, the newly ordained Bishop Morrissey, recounting the memories shared since they first met back in 1985.
Bevan Wilkinson first met Bishop Michael Morrissey on the day of his arrival to Karratha after being appointed as Parish Priest of Karratha in 1985, when Fr Michael arrived at the house of Bevan’s mother-in-law, Marie, to pick up keys to the presbytery that she had cleaned and prepared for ‘the new priest’.
“That was when we met him for the first time; then regularly after at the traditional ‘Marie Sunday dinner’,” Bevan said.
With Karratha being a young family town and Bishop Michael being in his very early thirties at the time, Bevan said he was quickly ‘adopted’ into many families.
“In fact he never had to cook at home but was invited to dinner most nights, except Monday’s that were his day and night off!”
Bevan said that because they didn’t have much extended family in Karratha, the Parish became like a family to them, with Bishop Michael thoroughly involved in the lives of the Wilkinson family over the years, performing Christenings and being present for the First Holy Communion and Confirmation of Mr Wilkinson’s children, as well as family funerals.
Bevan also recounted the numerous holidays shared with Bishop Michael to Malus Island Shack for overnight fishing trips.
“When he (Bishop Michael) left Karratha, we continued to keep in touch, dropping into Geraldton on our way through to Perth from Karratha on many occasions, checking out his place in Mullewa and catching up with him when we moved to Perth.
“He would visit, keeping us up-to-date with his family, Army Reserves, farming news and of course the love of his life, Porshe (the cat),” Bevan said.
Bevan believes that Bishop Michael was a great choice for the position as Bishop of Geraldton due his popularity among the faithful, his easy going personality and ability to relate to people from many walks of life.
“He is a good administrator, communicator and someone who is trustworthy. He is humble and understanding of people’s needs and endeavours to make a difference in people’s lives.
“On many occasions he has offered us spiritual guidance in a down to earth way,” he said.
Bevan says he was moved by the Ordination and said it was touching to see such a large turnout.
“As I looked around at the large number of people I was warmed by the many friends that were there from those early Karratha years and how we all consider Bishop Michael to be an enormous part of our lives still to this day.
“There was a wonderful presence of priests and bishops as well as many friends and family and Bishop Michael seemed to enjoy the whole ceremony with his quirky smile evident through the ordination,” Bevan said.
He added that witnessing Bishop Michael’s ordination was both moving and satisfying.
“He has worked so hard and has been a wonderful pastor to many people, with his unpretentious nature and is a perfect example to all who know him.
“It was an honour to see him receive this blessing for all of his hard work and sacrifice,” he concluded.