Tuesday, 02 September 2014 14:11

Fr Pat Jackson - 50 Golden Years of Priesthood

frpatjackson01 250St Christopher’s Syndal has just celebrated a most joyous occasion. Our beloved parish priest Fr Pat Jackson celebrated his Golden Jubilee of priesthood, on the 25th July 2014. A celebratory dinner on the actual anniversary date was held at the Vogue Ballroom, East Burwood. A beautiful banner hung in the dining area showing in the middle, a picture of Fr Pat in his vestments and surrounding that were words in gold celebrating his 50th anniversary of priesthood. Robert Vecchio designed and organised its production.

An amazing 275 parishioners, clergy, family and friends were part of what was a wonderful evening of tributes to Fr Pat, of fun, and entertainment. The MC for the night was Mr Paul Gleeson and in doing a 90 second interview with Fr. Pat we found out among other things that Fr Pat’s favourite colour is blue, favourite food is porridge and favourite singer Bob Dylan!. There were 4 songs from the Singing Mums choir who came out of retirement to entertain us. The first song appropriately called ‘The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond’. Fr Pat with his penchant for bursting into song also gave us a rendition of ‘Bonnie Mary of Argyll’. The band played and we danced the night away! The food and ambience added to the night, there was such a wonderful sense of community and belonging, a real tribute to the vibrancy of the parish that Fr Pat has created.

frpatjackson03 250And there is more! On Sunday the 27th July Fr Pat concelebrated mass with Fr Eugene San, Fr Luis Carlos visiting from Brazil , and Fr Peter Murray. The celebrants were piped in by Mark Brolly wearing the kilt, and on the altar, one of the floral decorations was Scottish thistles adorned with tartan. Quite a Caledonian touch attributed to Annette Atkinson. The music was lovely and it was indeed a very joyous and deeply spiritual occasion. In the homily Fr Pat gave us an interesting account of his journey into the priesthood and thereafter and of course how much he has enjoyed being our parish priest for the past 13 years.. The mass was followed by a shared lunch in the hall, the tables groaning with delicious food. Justin Tan the retiring chair person of the Parish Council welcomed everyone and Mr Shane Tobin, the school principal, acted as MC. On the walls was the most amazing photographic exhibition, produced by a long time parishioner Helen Lauritz. Somehow she managed to get photos from the family album dating back to his days as a boy in Ayr Scotland, then, when the family migrated to Australia. Also there, were all the prizes and certificates Fr Pat achieved over the years, of which there were many. So many photos of his activities with youth, UAC and parish activities, such as delivering the various sacraments and so much more. A real chronicle of Fr Pat’s life. How could anyone fit so much into his life? Well Fr Pat has! This exhibition is a testament to that.

frpatjackson02 250After lunch several choirs from the parish performed as well as the school children and the Sunday school children who sang for us. The school leaders delivered tributes to Fr Pat saying how much the children loved and admired him. More entertainment followed with a very funny presentation by Mr Domenic De Leo, who teaches at the school. It was the story of Fr Pat as baby Jesus, he had priesthood in mind!, as Postman Pat who opened everyone’s post as he wanted people only to get Good News!! So it went on through many characters and was most amusing and very clever. The children had another surprise for Fr Pat, they had all been working hard to produce a very lovely quilt which Fr Pat took great delight in accepting. It will no doubt keep him warm in this cold winter we are experiencing.

St Christopher’s is blessed to have Fr Pat as its Parish Priest and we hope to have him in the parish for many more years, guiding us in our journey of faith, and we congratulate him on attaining this wonderful anniversary of 50 years in the priesthood.


Ronnie Poskitt on behalf of the organising committee of Helen Lauritz, Mary Tan, Deirdre Heffernan and Annette Atkinson.


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