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Bishop ‘a great man, a great leader and a great shepherd’

Raymond Benjamin Funeral

Lasting tribute: Townsville diocesan administrator Fr Mick Lowcock addresses the congregation at the funeral of former Bishop of Townsville Bishop Raymond Benjamin in Townsville’s Sacred Heart Catrhedral on March 17; and (above right) the bishop’s coffin at the steps of the sanctuary.

THE late Bishop Raymond Benjamin was a much-loved leader of Townsville diocese, and during his Vigil and Sharing of Memories people paid tribute to him and told many stories of the wonderful man.
Bishop Benjamin, the fourth Bishop of Townsville, was buried on March 17 in Sacred Heart Cathedral, Townsville. He died on March 7.
Fr Terry Lyons, a priest of the diocese who celebrated his golden jubilee last year, spoke about his time with Bishop Benjamin.
Fr Lyons said the decree on the bishops from the Second Vatican Council stated: “A bishop should always welcome his priests with a special love, the bishops should regard his priests as sons and friends, thus by his readiness to listen to them and by his trusting familiarity, a bishop can work to promote the whole pastoral work of the diocese.”
“This is the first quality I found in Bishop Ray Benjamin,” he said. “He was indeed a friend to his priests, someone who always welcomed them and welcomed them with trusting familiarity; he was certainly that.
“Bishop Ray was a real person, he was in touch with himself and his feelings, honestly being himself and speaking his own truth. That is what I remember about him.”
Family members also spoke about their loving relationship with Bishop Benjamin growing up.
Nephew Gerard Benjamin spoke about spending school holidays with him in Rockhampton and how he taught him chess and showed him the sights of Rockhampton.
“Even as a boy I registered his calm authority, his tremendous breadth of interests, his passion for music, his thoughtful discussions and his ability to talk to anyone,” Mr Benjamin said.
One of Bishop Benjamin’s passions was for the indigenous, and Colleen Muckan, the original chair of the Diocesan Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Pastoral Council honoured Bishop Benjamin.
She said he was “a great man, a great leader and a great shepherd – a man who always honoured others in his life”.
“He walked with the Aboriginal and Islander people; he was a great priest and he walked the road of justice with them and honouring them,” she said.

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