MISSIONARY Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament Father Regimon Gervasis has thanked the people of Surfers Paradise for their prayers, friendship and smiling faces as he left the parish.
Fr Gervasis has been appointed parish priest of Hervey Bay.
More than 600 people attended a farewell Mass and morning tea on August 28.
Parish priest and South Coast dean Fr Tim Harris celebrated the Mass with Fr Gervasis and former dean and associate pastor Fr Kevin Carey concelebrating.
Fr Harris said they were all saddened to learn that Fr Gervasis was leaving to take on another appointment.
“Our loss is Hervey Bay’s gain,” he said.
“Fr Regi is leaving one beautiful part of the world and going to another.
“Fr Regi has mixed emotions and feelings about the move but he is a missionary by calling and as such he goes where the greater need is. “Hervey Bay parish needs a good pastor and Fr Regi has been asked to take on that role.
“Fr Regi can be assured of our prayers and well-wishes as he prepares to take on this new venture within the archdiocese.
“He came to serve from his ‘home town’ in Kerala, India and he has already served the archdiocese with great distinction in his first appointment as associate pastor of Surfers Paradise.
“May God continue to strengthen him for the journey in his calling as a leader amongst us.”
Fr Gervasis said all Christians were “always on a journey from one place to another, from one experience to another”.
“I enjoyed the life in paradise. Every face was new to me but soon I felt at home because of your welcoming friendship and love,” he said.
“Each day was another day of happiness as I was given the opportunity to worship the Lord with you,” he said.
“We are invited to follow the will of God in an unexpected time in an unexpected way.”
Fr Gervasis thanked the parishioners as he prepared to move on.
“It is your support and encouragement which gave me strength to go ahead and say yes to more responsibilities,” he said.
“I thank Fr Tim for his brotherly love, gentle care and genuine support, who always kept open the doors of opportunities in the parish ministry with strength and kindness.
“I also thank (associate pastor) Fr Nicholas (Okafor) for his wisdom and friendship.
“The parish office was a home of encouragement and hospitality.
“Each one of you gave me a space in your heart.
“Your smiling faces, which I will miss terribly in the coming days, and your prayers, were my strength.
“As I am opening the next chapter of my life as the parish priest of Hervey Bay, I request your prayers and blessings for my future ministry, which I gratefully accepted from the Archbishop.
“Hervey Bay may be far away but all of you are in my heart and in my prayers and I welcome all of you to the whale-watching capital of Australia.”