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Fitting tribute to devoted pastor Fr James O’Brien

Fr James O'Brien

Fr James O’Brien

By Paul Dobbyn

ELEVEN eulogies paid tribute to much-loved pastor emeritus Fr James Finbar O’Brien at his Vigil Mass at St Maximilian Kolbe Church, Kingston Marsden parish on Sunday, March 30.

The Irish-born priest died aged 65 on March 24 in Allamanda Hospital, Gold Coast, after a long illness.

Brisbane Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Oudeman concelebrated the vigil Mass with six priests including parish priest Fr Sunil Paul.

Longtime friend, Woodridge parish priest Fr Dave Batey, who delivered a homily and a eulogy, said the church had been packed as Samoan and Filipino community members contributed to choral music for the Mass.

“It really was a remarkable tribute to Jim,” Fr Batey said.

“The whole thing was beautifully done and recognised Jim as the great pastor he was.”

Fr Batey’s homily was based around the Gospel of the Beatitudes.

“My eulogy was somewhere in the middle of 10 other heartfelt eulogies which ran for about an hour,” he said.

Fr O’Brien’s niece Margaret and husband Gary Lumsden, together with two great-nieces and a great-nephew, attended the Vigil Mass as well as the Funeral Mass in St Stephen’s Cathedral the following day.

Fr Batey also delivered a homily at the Funeral Mass on Monday, March 31.

Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge was the main celebrant assisted by Bishop John Gerry with about 40 priests concelebrating.

“The cathedral was quite full,” Fr Batey said.

“Once again there was the feeling that people genuinely looked at Jim O’Brien as a great and compassionate pastor.

“Myself and I’m sure others were left thinking: ‘God rest you Jim.

“’We’ll miss you and pray for you.’”

After the Funeral Mass, Fr O’Brien was cremated.

Some of his ashes will go to the columbarium at St Maximilian Kolbe Church, Kingston Marsden and the remainder to his home village in County Cork, Ireland.

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