first met you at university, but as a part time student
in those years I had little connection with you. Later
when you moved to Neutral
you suggested the “Camperdown Choir”, then without a
home, might like to come to the parish without a choir.
In your early years at Redfern I recall, that with three
or four small children we didn’t often manage Sunday
was baptised at St
in 1974. I had had a different sort of baptism, down
at the Empress Hotel, in those early days of the Aboriginal
Legal Service. To witness Aboriginal people being hauled
from the bar or the footpath and thrown into the paddy-wagon
by the local constabulary, both shocked and radicalised
me; we whites in the hotel were not being similarly
treated - and nor were my neighbours at Roseville, when
they might have had a little too much to drink.
can only speculate on what your practical support, personal
knowing and love of so many Aboriginal people has meant
for them. To see even a little of this is to be deeply
moved and challenged, as is being told how much they
love Father Ted.
the children got to be a little older (Michael the eldest
was 7 or 8), Peter and I decided it was important that
they experience a Catholic community where the gospel
values were lived as well as preached. It was not of
course just for the children: I also was wanting to
be involved in a community.
have a wonderful talent for facilitating connections
between people. This has been one of the great benefits
for me, and I think for many other people of Redfern;
another is to have been enriched, stimulated, and always
challenged by your reflections and homilies.
are the least judgmental person I have ever known. Alicia
in an essay in year ten described you as the most Christ-like
person she knew or could imagine, and I am sure she
is not alone in seeing you this way. You are a wise,
compassionate, understanding man, and I’m not sure that
you are always aware of your impact on other people’s
lives. You have encouraged and challenged and supported
me, both intellectually and personally.
has been a joy to share plays, films, meals, holidays
and time with you over many years. You are very warm
and generous in giving of your time and of yourself
to so many people.
you for your love.
by Mary Cawood