Introducing our new Parish Priest
We invited our new Parish Priest Fr Bill Edebohls to introduce himself and his wife Robyn just before they move into our Parish and before he officially commences Ministry here from Thursday 24th August. In advance of his arrival we are very pleased to publish Fr Bill's self-introduction below:
I am writing this from 17,000kms away in London where I am spending a few days after completing Sabbatical Studies in Palestine / Israel with the Sisters of Notre Dame de Sion at Ecce Homo Convent in Al Quds (the Old City of Jerusalem). It has been a wonderful experience full of heartbreak and joy in a land we call holy but a land of great injustice and a land that knows no peace. But this is not the place for my travel tales - that may be inflicted upon you later.
It will come as a surprise to some of you (but not to those who know of me from my time at St. John’s Heidelberg 2004-2005 and St. Pius X Heidelberg West 2005-2007) that I come to you with a wife, Robyn, so the Parish of Ivanhoe is about to have its first married priest. Usually the initial response to that news is disbelief or the question: ‘but how can this be the Catholic Church doesn’t have married priests?’.
Well yes it does. First and foremost the Eastern Catholic Churches (just as much a part of the Catholic Church as the Western or Roman Catholic Church) have always had married priests and most of their parish priests are married. Secondly, within the Western or Roman Catholic Church, there is a provision for priests from the Anglican Church who have been received into the Catholic Church, even if married, being ordained to the Catholic Priesthood if the Pope gives a dispensation. That is my story. So I am one of two married ‘Roman’ Catholic Priests serving in the Archdiocese of Melbourne.
I was born and raised in Traralgon, one of six boys. I was ordained an Anglican Priest in 1979 and after serving as an assistant priest in Ballarat was appointed Parish Priest of St. Jude’s Timboon (1980); Dean of Christ the King Cathedral Ballarat (1987); Chaplain to the Anglican Community in Milan and Archdeacon of Italy and Malta (1998); received, together with Robyn, into the Catholic Church (2001); ordained a Roman Catholic Priest by Archbishop Hart (2003); Assistant Priest St. John’s Heidelberg (2004); Priest in Charge St. Pius X Heidelberg West (2005); Priest in Charge St. Mary’s and Holy Eucharist Malvern East (2007).
I have never found moving to a new parish easy. That’s because I have always found leaving every parish I have been in traumatic: A leaving and walking away from what has been my family, with all its joys and sorrows. So, at the moment, there is still the grieving of parting and loss. But experience has taught me that that will pass and a new family will fill that gulf. There will be new relationships, new friends, new joys and sorrows shared. And that I do look forward to.
Apart from the usual things of parish life I have an interest in issues of social justice, our care for God’s creation, and in particular the plight of asylum seekers and refugees in this country. In Malvern East I sponsored two Afghan families who moved from detention centres into one of our presbyteries. The youngest boy, Javid, after only three years of formal education has just completed his VCE exams. Sadly he and his family still have no formal status within this country and live with the daily fear of deportation.
Robyn who hails from Merrigum (near Kyabram) is one of five children. She studied librarianship at Ballarat University where we met and later married in Christ the King Cathedral, Ballarat. She has worked in the library of Santa Maria College in Northcote since 2004 so she is looking forward to being much closer to Santa. The battle up and down Bourke Road each day to work will not be something she will miss.
So that’s a very brief intro. The rest you have to discover for yourselves as we build new relationships and new friendships together and as we grow together as the family of God in the Parish of Ivanhoe.
May God bless you all.
13 November 2016