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Caring for those who cared

Fr Wim Hoekstra (left), Fr Terry Hogan, Fr John O’Neill and Fr Arthur Cook
From left: Fr Wim Hoekstra is presented with a cheque from Fr Terry Hogan, Fr John O’Neill and Fr Arthur Cook.

On the first weekend of September, the annual Father’s Day Appeal will be held in parishes across the Diocese. The appeal is an opportunity for the Catholic community to acknowledge the work of the priests and deacons who have ministered to them over many years.

Your donations ensure that clergy already in retirement are cared for. At present, our Diocese has 22 retired priests and two retired deacons.

Three local priests who are still active and in fine voice have raised more than $4,000 for the Clergy Support Foundation from the sales of a CD. Concert Favourites was recorded by Fr John O’Neill, Fr Arthur Cook and Fr Terry Hogan.

At a clergy gathering on St John Vianney Day, Fr Wim Hoekstra from the Clergy Support Foundation was presented with a cheque for profits from the CD sales. The priests have raised nearly $15,000 for charity during a decade of performing concerts. Concert Favourites was recorded in 2005 in a six-hour studio session at Electric Avenue studios in Camperdown. This was no small feat considering it often takes six months to produce a CD. Some of the tracks were recorded in just one take.

The CD features the best popular Irish and classical songs of Fr O’Neill, Fr Cook and Fr Hogan (assisted by Fr Steven Monaghan on piano) from their 2000-04 concerts performed at Merrylands, Doonside and other venues.

The concerts attracted audiences of 300 people or more and as a result, it was decided to produce a CD so that others could enjoy their singing for the first time, and that those who had attended one of their performances could relive the experience. The CD features 23 songs with instrumental numbers by Fr Steven Monaghan and well-known violinist and teacher, Helen Renaud.

It includes favourites such as Born Free, The Rose of Tralee, O Holy Night, Count Your Blessings and How Great Thou Art along with several Gilbert and Sullivan pieces such the duet from the The Gondoliers – ‘We’re Called Gondolieri’.

Since its release in 2006, nearly 450 copies of the CD have been sold. Some copies are still available for $20 from Fr Arthur Cook at Windsor Parish 02 4577 3073. Donations to the Father’s Day Appeal can be made through your local parish.

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