By Emile Ng
CAPUCHIN friars living south of the Brisbane river welcomed one of their own, Brisbane auxiliary Bishop Joseph Oudeman, into their community earlier this month.
Bishop Oudeman made a pastoral visit to his fellow Capuchin brothers between September 5 and 7.
He also met with members of the connecting school and parish communities.
Children from St Ita’s, Dutton Park, presented a handmade tie to Bishop Oudeman with a note saying, “Bishop Joseph, you are a father to us all”.
Bishop Oudeman confirmed 90 children, teenagers and adults from St Ita’s, Dutton Park; St Francis’, West End and St Mary’s, South Brisbane.
Almost 50 children from St Ita’s Catholic school were confirmed during the pastoral visit, another 30 in West End and 10 at South Brisbane.
Parish priest Capuchin Father Lam Vu said the pastoral visit from one of their fellow order members “brought everybody together”.
“Everyone wanted to welcome the bishop,” Fr Vu said.
Children from St Ita’s, Dutton Park were particularly pleased to see a bishop at their school.
“They don’t see a bishop all the time, and they really loved to see Bishop Oudeman,” Fr Vu said.
“He is one of us, and he understands the way we work, and our charism, so from that background it made life easier for me.”
He said the bishop also stayed two nights at the Capuchin residence, Assumption Friary.
“He said it felt like home for him,” Fr Vu said. “I think you miss living in the friary when you’re a bishop.”
He said he was inspired to meet with “one of our bishops”.
Fr Vu, who transferred to Dutton Park-West End and South Brisbane parishes from Sydney on July 7, said he felt “blessed and honoured to serve” his new community.
He said the large number of youth and young families particularly struck him in the parish.
“It’s such a young community, for instance St Ita’s has many young families and parents, so it’s good to connect with,” Fr Vu said.
“It’s great to have young people as it gives us hope.”