Church farewells priest
ST MARY’S Catholic Parish in Maclean will bid farewell to Father John Fitz-Walter, who has been their parish priest for the past 12 years.
Fr John will hold his last Sunday Celebration of the Eucharist on September 5, leaving behind a legacy of care, encouragement and support to his parishioners.
His first appointment was to St Augustine’s in Coffs Harbour, and he also served at St Agnes’ Parish in Port Macquarie, St Carthage’s Cathedral in Lismore, St Mary’s in Grafton and eight years ministering to the people of Kyogle as their parish priest.
Some of the highlights of his ministry include the celebration of the centenary of St Joseph’s school, the Convent of Mercy and the Music Academy, hosting the youth from the Pacific Islands for World Youth Day in July 2008, and the Liturgical Renewal Program.
Overall, under the leadership of Fr John, the Lower Clarence Catholic community has been blessed by vib-rant, meaningful and inclusive church celebrations.
He has also encouraged his parishioners in full participation in all church activities.
Fr John’s ministry to the sick, suffering, frail, aged, lonely and grieving members in the community will bealways remembered, as will his encouragement of children in their faith and sacramental journey.
Fr John loved to celebrate Mass ‘under the Big Top’ at St Joseph’s School assembly area.
Knowing this, his farewell Mass will be held in the assembly area this Sunday, September 5, at 8.30am, followed by a morning tea for all parishioners.
His ill-health helped him come to the decision to retire and take on lighter duties in the northern part of the Diocese of Lismore. Fr John will move to Ocean Shores, where he will be closer to his family.