The quirks of life: Fr Tim Crowley in retirement
Bishop’s Father’s Day Appeal for Retired & Sick Priests
|Fr Tim enjoys the mental exercise that a daily crossword offers.|
Photo: Will Luckman.
By Will Luckman, Catholic Outlook September 2014
Life is a funny old game; in the grand scheme of history, one moment or memory is about as significant as a drop of paint in the Sistine Chapel, but pool together a lifetime of those memories and what a work of art it becomes. One particularly inspiring masterpiece is 85-year-old retired priest, Fr Timothy Crowley.
Born and raised during the Great Depression, young Tim's earliest memories are grounded in the struggles of a war-ravaged community, banding together to simply survive.
As the years passed, the wealthier families worked selflessly to protect the less fortunate like himself and, in time, slowly pulled the community back from the brink of collapse.
It was this generosity that had the greatest effect on the developing youth and would become a cornerstone of his ministry as he set about his spiritual path.
"I had a pretty good life even though we were poor,” Fr Tim said. “There was just this amazing sense of belonging because of these great people.
“If you went to the dairy for a pint of milk, they'd give you a pint and a half. If you went to the fruit shop to get some oranges they'd say take a couple of apples and bananas as well.
“Everyone was willing to just give that little bit extra for each other, and I learned a lot of good things there."
|Fr Tim Crowley has found strength in his faith when it was tested the most. Photo: Dan McAloon.|
Like many, he questioned his calling at first, choosing to leave the seminary in his early teens to pursue what every other man of that age is interested in. But the death of his brother-in-law suddenly left Tim's niece desperately in need of a father figure.
And so, with a wistful glimmer in his eye, which remains to this day, Tim sacrificed his own promising relationship to rejoin the priesthood and become the man this young girl needed to guide her through life.
"When he died, I realised there were more important things in life,” Fr Tim said. “We aren't bulletproof. We die.
“I became like a surrogate father to her, and we are still very close to this day.
“Going back to be a priest wasn't easy. I had a good girlfriend at the time – a lovely, lovely girl – but I felt it was where I needed to be. So there I stayed, and had a wonderful life in the priesthood.”
And so he followed his calling.
He counselled the sick and dying in Camperdown's Royal Prince Alfred Hospital; rebuilt the Lalor Park ministry; and spent many a day visiting the lads at St Pat’s school in Blacktown for a round of theological debate.
In his later years he travelled the world, meeting some extraordinary people, from mountain-top prayer sessions with a native American to dinner with an astronaut.
Continue reading full story at the Catholic Outlook site Your tax-deductible donation to the Bishop’s Father’s Day Appeal for Retired and Sick Priests on 6-7 September 2014 will assist 25 retired clergy, including 2 bishops, 21 priests and two deacons. To make a contribution, pick up an envelope from your parish or donate online through the Clergy Support Foundation
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