Congratulations Mgr Pat as Nowra farewells their parish priest
September 7, 2020
Parish life, Clergy life
Well, what can you say about a man like Monsignor Pat Faherty that hasn’t already been said over the past 54 years since being ordained a priest? On 30 August, Mgr Pat retired from St Michael’s Catholic Parish in Nowra, where he has served as parish priest for the past 28 years! Mgr Pat was born in Moycullen, County Galway, Ireland. He completed his seminary studies at All Hallows College, Dublin, where he was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Wollongong on 19 June 1966. His first appointment was on 25 November 1966 to the parish of St Patrick’s in Port Kembla. In 1970, he served as the assistant priest at St Michael’s Nowra with the late Monsignor John Purcell, who was parish priest in Nowra for 36 years.
He then served in Wollongong and Albion Park-Oak Flats, and when Mgr John retired in August 1992, Mgr Pat was appointed parish priest of St Michael’s Catholic Parish, Nowra.
Through his two stints at St Michael’s, Mgr Pat has pastored to four generations of families in the Shoalhaven through the six churches at Nowra, Bombaderry, Berry, Kangaroo Valley, Culburra Beach, Vincentia and the community centre at Shoalhaven Heads. The parish also supplies Scripture teachers to 22 government schools and has eight aged care facilities as well as hospitals under its pastoral care. Wow!
Mgr Pat recently gave an interview to the South Coast Register where he said that a significant part of his vocation has been visiting the ill: “I’ve conducted a lot of funerals, spent a lot of time in hospitals and palliative care—I just see extraordinary acts of courageous patience…. I feel like I’ve been there at the right time for people in terms of their spiritual need.”
He has indeed been there for so many people over the past 54 years, and it is great that Mgr Pat will be able to enjoy a well-earned retirement. However, in true Mgr Pat style, he doesn’t seem to want to slow down, telling the South Coast Register: “I don’t have any particular plans for retirement, although I will still be assisting where I’m needed locally in the parish…. It will take me a bit of time to work out a routine I think … some aspects will be hard to let go of.”
Mgr Pat will retire locally in the Nowra region. It’s quite the task for the new administrator of the parish, Fr Leo Mifsud OMI, who is supported by Fr Tiziano Torresan at Vincentia, Fr Ronan Kilgannon at Kangaroo Valley and Dn Peter Presdee at Nowra, and we ask that you pray for the parish as they adjust to their new reality.
As for Mgr Pat, “Well done good and faithful servant (Mt 25:23),” and we invite you to join us in the following Irish Blessing for Mgr Pat:
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of his hand.
May good luck be with you wherever you go,
and your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow.
May your days be many and your troubles be few,
may all God’s blessings descend upon you,
may peace be within you,
may your heart be strong,
may you find what you’re seeking wherever you roam.
May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been
the foresight to know where you’re going
and the insight to know when you’re going too far. Amen.
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Our diocesan logo is theologically rich and very succinct. As a hand, it depicts our mission as a diocese and as individuals within the diocese, of bearing (bringing, carrying) Christ’s love to one another and to the world around us. In this, we are the hand of Jesus Christ, and we are offering ourselves to him so that he might work through us.
We can be the bearers of his love only as a response to his call and in the strength of his grace. We are reminded of this in two ways—through the symbol of the dove (the Holy Spirit) also present in the logo, and by the incorporation of the cross that segments the logo. The presence of the cross is a reminder that bearing the love of Christ will inevitably cost us if we live it authentically. However, in the way that the Cross is the portent of redemption and life—an echo of the tree of life in the book of Genesis—so becoming bearers of the love of Christ will also bring us to life.
The four fingers of the hand also represent the four regions of our diocese. The first is bluerepresenting the beautiful water of the Shoalhaven. The second is a blue and green combination representing the waters and escarpment of the Illawarra. The third is greendepicting the hills and plains of the Macarthur. The fourth is dark green illustrating the forests of the Southern Highlands.