Parish Office Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Parish
Parish office address:
Street: 61 Edmund Street, Shelly Beach, QLD, Australia
Postal: PO Box 595, Caloundra, QLD, Australia
Office hours: Monday - Friday, 9:00am - 1:00pm
Fr Joshua Whitehead - Parish Priest
I was born on 27 February 1981, to Kevin and Prue (deceased), and am the second eldest of four girls and three boys, growing up as a practicing Catholic family in New Zealand. Upon completion of secondary school, I enlisted in the NZ Army in 1999 where I gained a trade certificate as a Fitter/Turner/Welder. I served in the NZ Army for eight years including a 2005 tour of duty to the Bamyan Province in Afghanistan.
In 2006 I sought release from the Army and travelled to Perth, WA, where I gained employment in several Pilbara iron ore mining operations for the purpose of travelling the world. I subsequently travelled for 12 months, living and working in London, before returning to Perth and working in the mining industry once again; this is where my vocational journey began. In 2009 I woke one morning and decided (Holy Spirit), that I needed to be more involved in the lives of other people – earning the big bucks in the mines just wasn’t enough. So I up-skilled as a Personal Trainer and started my own PT business in Perth, specialising in weight loss and injury rehabilitation.
In 2011, after deciding that Perth was too far from home (Holy Spirit again), I shifted my PT business to the Gold Coast where I made, what I call, the first adult decision in my life: practicing my faith (Holy Spirit once again). In August of that year, while at a Saturday night Mass, I heard God calling me to discern the priesthood through the priest as he challenged the congregation in his homily: “Have you ever asked anyone to become a priest." This calling from God continued to strengthen and in Feb 2012, I was invited by the Archdiocesan Vocations Director to spend one year in Canali House, the Archdiocesan house of discernment, with other men who were discerning the same calling. During that year, I applied and was accepted to enter Holy Spirit Seminary, Banyo, which I did so on 10 February 2013.
During those formation years at the Seminary I completed a Bachelor of Theology as well as a Master of Theological Studies, focusing on Synodality in the Church. I experienced a selection of different Advent and Pastoral placements including the Cathedral of St Stephen, the Emmanuel Community, Burleigh Heads, Enoggera, Indooroopilly, and Clayfield parishes, and also completed my Pastoral Internship year at Stella Maris, Maroochydore in 2017 under the guidance of Fr Joe Duffy.
I was ordained a Deacon on 16 November 2018 by Bishop Robert McGuckin in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit, ACU Banyo whereupon Archbishop Mark appointed me to the Cathedral of St Stephen for the term of my diaconate.
Following my priestly ordination on 31 May 2019, Archbishop Mark reappointed me to the Cathedral for a short period of time before taking up a three-year appointment in the Caloundra Parish.
In August 2022, Fr Peter Brannelly was appointed Parish Priest of Maroochydore Parish and Archbishop Mark appointed me to lead Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Parish as Administrator. I'm honoured to be the fifth leader of this parish, and especially so as the appointment happened during our Golden Jubilee Year as a parish - 1972-2022. Please pray for me.
Fr Francis Fernandes - Associate Pastor
Fr Francis Fernandes is originally from India and spent the first seven years of his life there before migrating to New Zealand. In Auckland, he completed his primary and secondary education before moving again to Australia in 2008. He has since called Australia home.
Fr Francis first began discerning the call to ordained ministry when he was a Bachelor of Engineering student at QUT in 2013. The following year he entered Canali House, which was then a discernment house for young men. During his time there, he knew he wanted to enter the seminary and switched to studying a Bachelor of Arts at UQ focusing on History.
He commenced formal seminary study in 2015, where he first met Fr Josh, and studies for five years before beginning his in internship. He describes those years from 2015-2021 as privileged years to focus learning on faith and spirituality. Fr Francis says the seminary experience provides ample opportunities to learn about yourself and begin a lifelong journey of human, intellectual, spiritual and pastoral formation.
He was ordained a deacon in November 2020 and was appointed to Our Lady of the Valley Parish which encompassed the communities of Gatton, Laidley, Forrest Hill and Glenore Grove. Needless to say, the country experience was grace filled! On the 29 June 2021, he was ordained to the priesthood.
He feels he has settled into the parish’s rhythm of life with ease and is grateful to all who have shown him a warm welcome.
Fr Joseph-Hien Van Vo - Associate Pastor
Fr Joseph was born on 23rd December 1949: Born in Qui Nhon, Vietnam; the youngest child of a 10 children family.
After finishing school, he joined the Provincial Seminary in Hue in 1969 and on 8th December 1976 he was ordained to the Diaconate for the Diocese of Qui Nhon. From 1976 until 1987 he was a Pastoral Minister at Sacred Heart Parish, Nam Binh.
On 13th July 1988, he escaped from Vietnam to the Philippines by boat with 67 people and from 20th July 1988 – November 1989, he stayed at Palawan Refugee Camp, the Philippines. On 29th November 1989, he arrived in Sydney, Australia and studied English and Australian culture at Mary MacKillop Centre, Sydney.
In 1992, he was accepted into the Brisbane Archdiocese and from 1993 to 1995 he studied at Banyo Seminary, Brisbane.
He was appointed to Stafford Parish as Pastoral Minister in January 1995 and from 1996-1999 he was appointed Associate Pastor to Sacred Heart Parish, Booval. In June 1996, he graduated with a Bachelor of Theology at Brisbane College of Theology.
From 2000 until 2003, he was appointed Associate Pastor at St Bernadine’s Parish Brown’s Plains and after that he was appointed Associate Pastor of St Joseph’s Parish, Hervey Bay and then on 3rd July 2003, he was appointed Parish Priest of Hervey Bay.
In 2017, Fr Joseph was appointed Associate Pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, Caloundra and Chaplain to Ozcare Currimundi Retirement Village.
Fr Gerard Lai - Associate Pastor
Fr Gerard Lai was born in Australia and is the middle child of Cecilia and Edmund. His cultural heritage is Malaysian Chinese and others would describe his personality as vibrant and creative. Growing up, he worshipped at St Paul’s Woodridge and St Edwards Daisy Hill. Gerard completed his secondary schooling at Clairvaux MacKillop College and as a young adult, he found himself exploring the Christian faith and asking life’s deeper questions, eventually leading him to an encounter with Jesus which gradually led to his discernment towards a vocation to the Priesthood. His previous experience in the areas of Biological Science and Youth Ministry form a great foundation for the analytical thinking and the relational nature of Priestly Ministry.
Prior to his ordination to the priesthood, Gerard spent his time as a Deacon ministering at Star of the Sea Parish, Cleveland before his first appointment here at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish. Gerard is interested in helping people find meaning and purpose in their lives and is particularly passionate towards youth ministry. Gerard’s favourite Saint is Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati and one of his favourite Scriptural Passages is the Parable of the Treasure Hidden in the Field (Matt 13:44). In his spare time, you’ll find Gerard outdoors hiking, fishing, and running.
Felicity Jones - Youth Minister
A big warm hello to the Caloundra Catholic Community! My name is Felicity, and I am the parish Youth Minister. I have moved to the Sunny Coast from Ipswich where I was involved in various ministries for the past six years. I am excited to be here with you and to get to know many of you, especially our young people and their families, as the year goes on. It has been the greatest joy to share the gift of faith with others, and I am so keen to meet you where you’re at, hear your story, and journey alongside you! I will be based within the parish and also within Unity College, so I look forward to meeting many of our students!
I would like to acknowledge and thank NET Ministries for the wonderful space they have created for our youth within Caloundra for the past two years. As they move forward, so do we, and so we announce that our youth ministry will now be known as Kingdom Youth & Young Adults! May we encourage each other to be kingdom minded, supporting one another as we each play our part in building up the Kingdom of God.
St Teresa of Avila said, “Christ has no body on earth but yours. No hands and feet but yours.” May we be inspired by these words to do some good in whatever way we can this week. Be kind to yourself and others, and please take care during these trying times.