FR Peter Casey, a priest for 47 years, is retiring as a parish priest but he’s not about to put his feet up.
Any mention of the word “retirement” is met with friendly correction.
“No – not retirement – lesser duties,” he said from his parish office at Camp Hill in Brisbane.
“Through the Clergy Support office I’ll be available for weekends and parish work.”
With today (January 29) being Fr Casey’s last day as leader at Camp Hill, he said being free of administrative responsibilities would be the big difference.
“I’m looking forward to not having responsibility for parishes,” he said.
“I won’t miss being responsible for administering a parish.”
But he will very much miss parish life.
He’s been parish priest at Camp Hill for three years, Ipswich parish priest for 13 years before that, and parish priest in Cannon Hill for 10 years, as well as being assistant priest in Ekibin and Cannon Hill parishes before being appointed to Catholic Family Welfare (now Centacare Brisbane) in 1975.
He was with Centacare for 15 years – five as director.
Fr Casey said as he stepped back from being a parish priest the parish community was what he would miss most – “the people in the parish”.
He said the highlights of being a parish priest centred around “any of the times when you’re celebrating with the people and ministering among them pastorally”.
These included “Mass on Sundays when you’ve got a crowd of people coming wanting the Word and Eucharist”.
Fr Casey said it was difficult to isolate any one thing as the most satisfying aspect of priesthood.
“As you develop spiritually and move forward with the Church and you’re ministering and pastoring among the people there’s always growth for yourself as they respond and minister to you,” he said.
Apart from being available to help in parishes around the archdiocese, discussions were continuing about particular pastoral ministry in which he may become involved.
Fr Casey said he was looking forward to having more time to spend with his brothers and their families.
He will celebrate his last Mass as parish priest at St Thomas the Apostle Church, Camp Hill, this morning and he will be guest of honour at a brunch following the Mass.