Practical help for those suffering financial hardship

20 August 2018

The Bishop of Wilcannia-Forbes Diocese is mindful of the many farmers in his diocese who are experiencing the worst drought in recorded history.

Bishop Columba Macbeth-Green, who grew up on a farm near Forbes, and has personal experience with the effects of drought, understands that it is practical support needed most for those experiencing hardship.

“The provision of affordable Catholic schooling should not be an added burden to the financial strain of families, especially for those in need in this time of drought,” he said.

Bishop Columba reminds families who are in difficult financial circumstances, for any reason, that they are always able to approach their school Principal to arrange relief in regard to their school fees.

“We certainly do not wish to add to the financial burden families are currently experiencing, as money should not be a barrier to children attending Catholic schools”, he said.

Last week Catholics across Australia celebrated St Mary MacKillop’s feast day. Bishop Columba travels widely throughout the diocese just as St Mary did, and just like her, he is well aware of the devastating results drought can have on those whose livelihoods are dependent on rain.

“Mary MacKillop had a special place in her heart for people living in rural and isolated communities,” Bishop Columba said. “May her capacity to persevere in the face of adversity bring hope to all those struggling in this present crisis.”

Bishop Columba challenges each one of us to ask ourselves, “How can I support these families in this current reality?”

If your family is suffering financial hardship for any reason and finding it difficult to pay school fees, please contact your school Principal for assistance.


1 May 2018

Director of Catholic Education, Mr Anthony Gordon, welcomed four new employees to the Catholic Education Office (CEO) last Monday.

Mr Gordon said, “Today is an exciting day for the Catholic Education Office in the Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes as we welcome four experienced educational leaders who will support our 18 schools to continue to provide the best in teaching and learning.”

Donna Brouff and Katherine Baird bring a wealth of experience to the role of Education Officer which involves directly supporting the work of teachers in schools. Donna will mainly service schools in the north and west of the Diocese such as Bourke and Wilcannia, while Katherine will mainly service schools in the south such as Deniliquin and Balranald.

“To ensure that our schools comply with the National Education Standards Authority and to assist schools in the rollout of new information technology, we have also created the following two new positions – ONCE/Compass Specialist and System Compliance Specialist.”

“Accepting these roles are former principals, Mrs Denise Gersbach and Mr Brett Henderson, and we look forward to the wealth of experience in Catholic Education they both bring to these roles,” Mr Gordon said.

The ONCE/Compass Specialist facilitates research, planning and support in rolling out a new enterprise student information system in schools. This role will become the champion of change and will be a key influencer for teachers and executive staff. The project aims to deliver a comprehensive information system across the Wilcannia-Forbes Diocese to support reporting and the core business of learning and teaching.

Mrs Denise Gersbach, who has been Principal of Holy Family Parish School Parkes for the past 10 years is looking forward to her new role as a ONCE/Compass Specialist and will be based at the CEO in Forbes.

“I am really looking forward to the challenge of researching and learning what the COMPASS programme is capable of,” Denise said. “Coming from the role of a Principal, I am also looking forward to working closely with other dioceses in NSW and our IT Team in supporting school teams to make a smooth transition.”

Mr Brett Henderson, Principal of St John’s Trangie for the past seven years has accepted the role of System Compliance Specialist which will also be based at the Forbes Office. The System Compliance Specialist role will involve supporting principals and schools in NESA requirements and implementing a new management tool that will streamline the documentation process and assist in school administration and professional learning.

“I am looking forward to the challenges this role will bring and it will be great to continue my working relationship with Wilcannia-Forbes Principals,” Mr Henderson said.

Mr Gordon said the successful applicants were all selected from strong fields ensuring that educators of the highest standards are joining the CEO Team. He offered a prayer for the new employees – “We pray that the Lord gives you strength, wisdom and fulfillment,” and wished them all the best as they commence their new roles.

The Wilcannia-Forbes Catholic Education Office, located in Johnson Street, is one of Forbes’ largest employers, employing up to 40 staff, made up of education professionals, finance professionals, IT professionals, support officers, and administration staff.

CEO staff travel large distances to support 18 systemic parish schools in an area covering half of NSW. The office has a state of the art conference centre and holds regular professional development and workshops for principals, teachers and support staff, creating revenue for many Forbes and Parkes small business houses.


Wilcannia-Forbes Diocesan Schools will celebrate this year’s Catholic Schools Week with a number of special events starting on Sunday the 4th March.

‘Come and see’ is the theme for Catholic Schools Week which runs from 4 – 10 March 2018.

Director of Mission and Religious Education, Miss Therese Newell said, “Catholic Schools Week is a special time for all our schools and local communities and it is an important opportunity to invite the wider community to ‘come and see’ the many good things happening at our schools.”

“Our intention this year is to throw open the doors to all who are interested in hearing about our unique and distinctive school communities. In order to do this, all our schools will be holding ‘open’ mornings’ throughout the week. Current and prospective families, as well as members of the wider community, are warmly invited to contact their local school and ask what day they can visit.”

The Open Mornings will be an opportunity for Wilcannia-Forbes schools to open up their ‘classrooms of the future’, and showcase their extensive learning technology tools and student-centred virtual learning spaces.

“Our schools enjoy excellent reputations across the diocese and have done for many years. The wonderful sense of community spirit in Wilcannia-Forbes schools is as strong today as it has been any time in our history,” Miss Newell said.

“We have many dedicated and skilled teachers who bring out the academic and creative talents in each student through a range of contemporary and diverse learning experiences and programs.

The Director of Catholic Education, Mr Anthony Morgan said, “All of our staff are very excited about this event, our students are justifiably proud of their schools and we are looking forward to the opportunity to welcome as many visitors as possible next week.

With this in mind, I encourage parents, grandparents and members of the community to take the time to visit and participate in the many activities organised. You will be very welcome.”

For further information, please contact your local Catholic School.


11 December 2017

St Patrick’s has raised $205.40 for Catholic Mission. The small school of only students held a Mini-Fete during October which was organised and run by the Primary students.

Teacher Casey McGuire said: “We invited family and friends to attend our Mini-Fete. We had a picnic lunch on the oval and a cake stall afterwards.”

The students and families had a lot of fun participating in the fun activities planned by the Primary students. ”

After the Mini-Fete students performed a dance routine for their families and friends, which they had been learning from Miss Kristen from Kristen’s School of Dance, Forbes, who taught the students two dances over three dance workshops.

The day was a great success and great fun with the added benefit of raising funds for those less fortunate.