Withdrawl from La Trobe University and Parkville, Melbourne
The Australian Servite Delegation has decided (General Assembly of October 2015) to give up the La Trobe (Bundoora) University Catholic chaplaincy after 48 rich and rewarding years and return it to the Archdiocese of Melbourne.
It was in fact almost from the beginning of La Trobe University that the Servites were asked to look after its pastoral needs. They were already taking care of Our Lady of the Way Parish, Kingsbury, not far from the university. Fr. Vincent Harkins OSM was the first Catholic chaplain and his memory is revered even today at the university. A hall has been named after him! In the following decades different friars served La Trobe with a typical spirit of service, friendship and deepening of faith.
These are the friars who served La Trobe:
Fr. Myles Lynch, Fr. Liam Mackle, Fr. Peter Porteous, Fr. Michael Raj Manikkam and Fr. Anthony Xavier Rathinam.
The farewell took place on 17 December 2015. Soon after the Eucharistic celebration, the members of the chaplaincy had a meal together in the Agora. A few days later Fr. Peter Porteous, the
Delegate Provincial, informed Bishop Mark Edwards OMI, in charge of Tertiary Education in Melbourne, of our decision to withdraw. Later it was the turn of Fr. John Fontana to write to Archbishop Denis Hart. The keys to the La Trobe Catholic chaplain’s office were returned to the diocesan Curia. It is memorable that Bishop Mark Edwards OMI graciously found time to visit our community in Parkville to personally thank the friars for their long service.
It is understood that Fr. Phuong Vu SVD from Vietnam will be the new Catholic chaplain to La Trobe from 2 August 2016 onwards. He speaks Vietnamese, Chinese Mandarin and English. We wish him Good Luck and all the blessings of the Lord for a fruitful ministry.
Following the decision of the last General Assembly, the friars from Parkville have completed their move to Tuart Hill, Perth. Anthony Xavier was the first to join St. Philip’s Priory on the 1st of March to start work at the Servite College and Fr. Myles Lynch and Liam Mackle joined only in July due to various reasons. We must also mention that after many years of dedicated service as Catholic chaplain to the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Fr. Myles Lynch had a grateful farewell celebration in the second half of June.