Fr Lawrie and Br Michael leave for Melbourne

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Home > Media > News > Fr Lawrie and Br Michael leave for Melbourne
Fr Lawrie and Br Michael leave for Melbourne

Dominic College and the Glenorchy Parish have farewelled two of the Salesian community who have moved to Melbourne after ten years of service in Tasmania.

Br Michael Morrow SDB, who has spent the past decade serving at Dominic College with special needs children, left Tasmania after Christmas, while parish priest of Glenorchy Fr Lawrie Moate SDB left for Melbourne in late January.

Fr Lawrie farewells Tasmania for a second time

For Fr Lawrie, the move marks the conclusion of his second period of service in Tasmania. Born in Melbourne, Fr Lawrie entered the Salesians and studied teaching in South Australia and theology in the United States before being ordained a priest.

One of his first appointments was as Deputy Principal of Dominic College in the year it began as a co-educational college.

He says the college is in his ‘blood’.

“I was here at Dominic for 10 years from ’73 until ’83. So Dominic is in my blood, Tasmania is in my blood,” Fr Lawrie said.

Ten years ago, he returned to Tasmania to become the parish priest of Glenorchy.

Fr Lawrie says coming back to Tasmania and seeing how Dominic College has grown and developed has been “a wonderful experience”.

“Many of the students that I taught back in those days, I came back and their parents were still here, but more elderly of course, and many of them were still around with their own children at Dominic. So that’s been a lovely series of connections and continuity.”

Fr Lawrie said it was ‘heartwarming’ to be accepted by his parish so readily.

“I’m going to miss everyone’s friendliness, and the absolute generosity of the people which happens in so many unobtrusive ways,” he said.

“I’m very grateful to this community for helping me grow as a person and as a priest because in preparing the Word of God, you deepen your own appreciation of it. It’s been a privilege to foster the RCIA, and in a particular way I will miss the connection with Guilford Young College and Dominic College, and the joy of celebrating the Eucharist with class Masses and House Masses at GYC; and also from time to time at Dominic College.”

Now in Melbourne, Fr Lawrie is based at Salesian College, Chadstone. Before he left Tasmania, he said he didn’t know yet how he would serve, but he wouldn’t be ‘twiddling his thumbs’.

“I hope to get involved in some way with the school, celebrating the Eucharist with the students, and interacting with the staff, and also being available to share the Eucharist in the surrounding parishes.”

Fr Guy Riolo SDB, who has been serving as assistant priest at St Mary’s Parish in Sydney, will replace Fr Lawrie as parish priest of Glenorchy.

Br Michael says answering students questions ‘a privilege’

Br Michael – who will be based at the Salesian College in Sunbury – says he will miss Tasmania’s weather.

“What I’m not looking forward to is the heat,” he said.

Leaving after 10 years has a special significance for Br Michael – Dominic College’s 2018 graduating class were in kindergarten when he first arrived at the school, and have now left at the same time he has.

Working with students with special needs in both the primary and secondary areas of the school, Br Michael says he comes home tired, but a ‘good tired’.

“I go to bed at night exhausted, but happy,” Br Michael said.

“What I like too, is the openness of the students. I suppose they know me, so they can say, without offence, something.”

He says he’s been asked questions ranging from whether he goes to pubs and discos, to the difference between a brother and a priest.

“I suppose the funniest question I got was, ‘Do you believe in God?’” Br Michael said.

“I just feel so privileged to have questions asked of me and to explain it to them … These children, they’re my mission,” he said.

“That’s all I’m here for. I don’t need to go over to Africa, or to China, or to India, to any place to work in the missions. I believe that my mission is here.

“I try as hard as I can to let them know that they’re special. Hopefully they’ll carry it through.”

Originally from Sydney, Br Michael planned to spend several weeks with his family before taking up his new role in Melbourne in late January.