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
Rain in parts of western Queensland in the past week has raised hope that the drought may finally be over, but the long, dry years have already devastated pastures and wiped out incomes for many farming families.
Solid central Australian rain a bonus as pastoral company progresses with drought-proofing strategy aimed at selling heavier cattle
A Central Australian pastoral company says recent solid rain across its five cattle stations is a welcome bonus as it continues with a drought-proofing strategy.
Queensland's first cyclone of the season poses no immediate threat to the coast but may whip up dangerous swells for south-east beaches early next week, the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) says.