EMOTIONAL tributes are flowing from across Australia for beloved spiritual grandfather, Brisbane-based Jesuit Father Gregory Jordan, who died suddenly on July 19, aged 85.
Fr Jordan collapsed while proclaiming the Gospel in Mass at St Ignatius Church, Toowong, and was taken to the Wesley Hospital in a critical condition. He died a few hours later.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott, government ministers, politicians, priests and religious and Fr Jordan’s parishioners and friends have praised and remembered the dedicated priest and father-figure to thousands.
Jesuit Father Robin Koning, who is assistant to the provincial of the Jesuits in Australia, said members of the province had been shocked and saddened by Fr Jordan’s death.
“He is remembered as a good community man, always ready to be involved in community activities at a local and province level, and to engage in conversation and to share a laugh and a story,” Fr Koning said.
“Fr Jordan seemed indefatigable in his zeal and only in recent months, as he approached his 85th birthday, did he show signs of slowing down just a little.
“His fellow Jesuits will miss Fr Jordan’s warm companionship and his great example of pastoral concern and energy.”
Fr Koning said Fr Jordan served in a range of the Jesuits’ ministries over his long priestly life.
“He has been head of two of our Sydney schools, St Ignatius, Riverview, and St Aloysius,” he said.
Fr Jordan had also been rector at two university colleges – St John Fisher College at the University of Tasmania and St Leo’s at the University of Queensland.
He was parish priest of St Ignatius’ Parish, Toowong, for several years.
For the past 12 years, his major appointment had been chaplain for the St Gregory’s Latin Mass community, Brisbane, Australian Catholic Students Association chaplain, Faith on Tap chaplain, and exorcist for the Brisbane archdiocese, among other ministries.
Fr Jordan’s Brisbane parishioners are mourning loving, kind-hearted priest.
Fr Jordan’s secretary and assistant Elizabeth Purton said Fr Jordan was a man of the storytelling era sharing his wisdom in his “radio jockey voice”.
“Any young person that met him couldn’t help but be intrigued or instantly connected with this man who became like our grandfather. I will always remember him that way,” she said.
“Having worked with him as his secretary and assistant he always corrected my grammar both in writing and in speech – he was always a teacher.
“He always took the time to notice and spent countless hours on two phones at once, taking visitors and emailing almost simultaneously and of course saying his daily mass.
“A testament to his unending energy and sacrifice.”
Former Queensland Liberal National Party senator Ron Boswell said Fr Jordan “knew what was right and what was wrong, and he stood up for it”.
“He was an inspiration to a lot of young people and an inspiration to a lot of Parliamentarians,” he said.
“His influence reached over a lot of people, and it would all be for the good.”
Mr Boswell, a Catholic who retired from the Senate last year, had often turned to Fr Jordan for advice during his time in Parliament.
“I used to speak to him regularly if I had any problems,” he said.
“I know he talked to a lot of Parliamentarians.”
Fr Jordan’s funeral will be on July 30 at 11am, location to be finalised. Brisbane Catholics are also organising a prayer vigil, details to be confirmed.