New parish administrator facing ‘great challenge’ with enthusiasm

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Home > Media > News > New parish administrator facing ‘great challenge’ with enthusiasm
New parish administrator facing ‘great challenge’ with enthusiasm

The parish administrator at St Mary’s Parish is approaching his new duties with energy and enthusiasm.

Fr Norberto Ochoa took up his new role in mid-February having previously been assistant priest at the Cathedral Parish in Hobart (March-December 2019) and then filling in at George Town (December-February) following the retirement of Fr Edward Zammit OFM.

One of his first tasks after moving to the East Coast was to consult with parishioners and seek their support in making the faith flourish.

“A great challenge is facing me,” Fr Noberto said from the presbytery at the inland town of St Mary’s in the weeks before coronavirus preventative measures were tightened.

“At my first Mass I asked all the people, ‘What are your expectations?’. They responded regarding the things to be done. I asked for suggestions to make the spirituality of the parish alive; for people to pray here; through the blessed sacraments; and as we approach the Easter season.”

As well as conferring with parishioners, Fr Norberto also plans to create a sub-parish pastoral council to better oversee parish affairs.

Like all priests throughout Tasmania, he is now faced with the challenge of ministering to a parish that can no longer meet for Masses, or other public gatherings.

Fr Norberto, 58, is originally for the Philippines, where he attended the Holy Rosary Major Seminary in Naga City. He was ordained a priest in March 1987 in the Diocese of Daet, Camarines Norte.

When asked what prompted him to enter the seminary, he replied: “I was called by God. From the crooked path, He made the road straight. I grew up in a poor family in the Philippines. There was an option to study at the seminary. While I was there I came to love God and found my vocation for the priesthood.”

He ministered as a diocesan priest in his home country before moving to Australia in April 2013.

In New South Wales he was an associate priest of the Scalibrinian Missionary attending to Filipino migrants in the Catholic Parish of Warringah, Dee Why. He also served as associate priest and a Filipino Chaplain in the Diocese of Broken Bay.

Fr Norberto replaces the former administrator of St Mary’s, Fr Balasundaram Antonyraj CPPS. The sprawling East Coast parish stretches from St Helens to Bicheno and inland to include St Mary’s and Fingal.