New Catholic Bishop brings message of hope to drought-hit communitiesBy Chrissy Arthur, Tuesday June 10, 2014 - 13:47 EST
The new Catholic Bishop of Rockhampton says a visit to western Queensland has highlighted the impacts of the drought and the stresses on rural families.
Bishop Michael McCarthy has visited Longreach, Barcaldine, Blackall and Aramac in recent days, less than a fortnight after his ordination.
He says he has seen barren grazing land and met landholders to offer hope and support.
"First and foremost, it has been the drought [which] has been very much on my mind, just the stresses of the country people," he said.
"I really feel for the people of the west.
"Personally I think they are doing very, very well in themselves, considering what is going on but my commitment is to be out here a few times a year and just to be part of the community.
"I've seen the land that is barren, I have seen the cattle that are poor and the sheep.
"It is just so disheartening and you can see it on their faces, how hard it is.
"It is just good to be here and to stand in solidarity with you.
"Hopefully God will bless the earth again with rain, and until that time, I am hopeful that they will keep hope."
© ABC 2014
More breaking news
A low pressure system which has drenched Perth, the South West and parts of the Wheatbelt has farmers rejoicing.
Weather forecasters are predicting snow across Tasmania over the weekend and possible snow in Hobart for the first time since 1986.
Strengthening El Nino to reduce rainfall in northern and south-east Australia but wetter conditions for Western Australia
The Bureau of Meteorology has confirmed the El Nino pattern is strengthening in the Pacific and is likely to persist into next year.