St Laurence O’Toole Catholic Church has welcomed a new priest to lead its congregation.
Father Sabbas Assenga has been visiting Cobar since October to help cover the absence of a permanent priest at the church and was recently appointed as the resident priest.
“I am known to those who come to church and they knew that I would be settling here soon,” Father Sabbas said.
Originally from Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, Fr Sabbas has been a priest for 17 years and has led congregations in both Africa and Australia.
His last post was for a year at the Central Coast and prior to that he was posted in Kenya.
He said while the Cobar Parish community is only small, they have been very welcoming.
“Preaching, visiting people, being among people and sharing ideas, also listening to the people is very important,” Father Sabbas said are the most pleasing aspects of his role as a priest.
St Laurence O’Toole Catholic Church Parish Council president Bernie Martin told The Cobar Weekly the church has been without a resident priest since August 2015 after Father Gregory Butelo departed.
“The Nyngan priest was the parish administrator and would attend for funerals, weddings, baptisms etc,” Mrs Martin said.
“We generally had a visiting priest about every six weeks to celebrate Mass and consecrate more hosts and, in between times, we had Communion Services prepared by Sister Trish and the parish Eucharistic ministers.
“These were well attended which was encouraging; however we are delighted to have Father Sabbas with us so we can celebrate the holy Mass daily,” she said.
Father Sabbas said the Bishop hasn’t given him any direct plans in relation to Cobar, only to continue building the spiritual aspect of both the Cobar community and St John’s Primary School.
Father Sabbas welcomes everyone to the church.
“I would love to make the parish great again,” he said.