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Fr Ron McFarlane celebrates 40 years of priesthood

Members of St Andrew’s Parish youth ministry team
Some of the members of theSt Andrew’s Parish youth ministry team at Marayong.
Fr Ron and family
Fr Ron McFarlane with his cousin Bernadette, brothers Bernard and Barry, and sister-in-law Felicity.

On 4 July 2010, the parish community of St Andrew the Apostle at Marayong celebrated the 40th anniversary of the ordination to the priesthood of their Parish Priest, Fr Ron McFarlane.

About 1200 people were at the Thanksgiving Mass, which was concelebrated by fellow priests from the Diocese of Parramatta: Fr Robert McGuckin VG, Fr Chris De Souza, Fr Clifford D'Souza and Fr Dave Hume.

Speaking of his 40 years as a priest, Fr Ron said: "If I had the opportunity to start all over again, the fundamental option of accepting priesthood would still, I believe, be present. To date, it has been a great life, enjoyable and rewarding.

“The challenges I see in the priesthood are the same I see for every life. They are to love each person as Jesus does; to see Jesus in the other and to be prepared to give time, attention, care and presence to them."

The Readings were read by Fr Ron's brothers, Barry and Bernard. The choir was a combined choir from the various groups in the parish.

Afterwards, the gathering adjourned to the John Paul II Campus of St Andrew's College to continue the celebration. One of the wonderful things about this parish is that they know how to put on a party.

Members of the parish music ministry staged a two-hour concert, which was an entertaining and enjoyable way to finish the afternoon.

The day had been organised by a committee of parishioners overseen by Joyce Inglis. The whole community came together and played their part in assuring that it was a memorable day for Fr Ron and for the parish.

In his homily, Fr Ron spoke about being a priest for 40 years and said he was still working at becoming a priest. He highlighted the importance of the Mass and of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

He emphasised that the priest was an ordinary person journeying with other ordinary people and how it has been the people he has worked with and for who have been his main support.

He stressed that all vocations were equal and mutual. He spoke about the wonderful rediscovery of lay ministry in the Church, which has seen many changes in parish life since he was ordained, and these changes were for the better. In this context, he spoke about how we all have a vocation.

Fr Ron also spoke about what some people perceive as an identity crisis among priests. His point was that the priesthood was an objective reality, which is not defined by us for it is the priesthood of Christ.

He made the point that at times we do not live up to the expectations of the Church and sometimes we might have difficulty keeping a proper balance.

Fr Ron believes many men are called to priesthood but, for a variety of reasons, they do not accept the invitation.

He also pointed out that there is no certainty that a person will persevere even if they believe they have a vocation. The point he was making is that to discover what God is truly asking of us we need to be prepared to step out on a limb and take some risks. To Fr Ron, it was worth the risk because of the incredible gifts this vocation offers.

Finally, Fr Ron shared a favorite passage:

“The more I give the more I receive.

The more I teach the more I learn.

The more I minister, the more I am ministered to."

« Return to Catholic Outlook August 2010