THE world’s oldest known Carmelite, who served nearly all the Carmelite parishes in Australian and New Zealand, was remembered in a live-streamed funeral today.
Australian Carmelite Father Pat Harney died peacefully on July 17 – the day after the feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, patroness of the Carmelite order.
According to the Carmelites of Australia and Timor-Leste, he was the oldest Carmelite in the world at 99 years of age.
He died having been a Carmelite for 73 years, including 68 years as a priest.
Carmelite prior provincial Fr Paul Cahill said in an announcement that the 99 year old priest drew people in with “his friendly manner and his pastoral ‘touch’ and zeal”.
“In recent times, he was a wonderful “hit” with the Middle Park and Melbourne locals – both those who came to our Church and with whom he celebrated daily Mass, as well as those in the local civic community with whom he enjoyed mixing socially,” Fr Cahill said.
“He was a great devotee of Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and found great joy and nourishment in the Eucharist, the Divine Office and daily Rosary.”
He was remembered in a live-streamed requiem Mass today (July 24) at 10am.
Born in Victoria in 1921, Fr Harney was the second youngest of eight children.
His home life was devoutly Catholic, centred on the daily Rosary, morning prayer and Sunday Mass.
According to a memorial page on the Australian and Timor-Leste Carmelites website, Fr Harney’s faith led him to the priesthood.
“Our faith was just part of our lives,” he had once said.
“Throughout my life, the hand of God has guided me in a remarkable way and still does.”
He entered the Carmelites as a novice at the age of 25, and by January 1952 was ordained a priest in Sacred Heart Cathedral, Bendigo.
Having served in nearly all Carmelite communities of Australia and New Zealand, he was often heard singing the famous Geoff Mack song: “I’ve been everywhere, man”.
Fr Harney retired in 2010 but continued to celebrate daily Mass at Our Lady Carmel Church in Middle Park, Victoria, until the suspension of Mass due to the coronavirus shutdown.