It seems only yesterday that our Passionist Pastor, Fr. Tom McDonough, was farewelled in a very fitting ceremonial style from St. Anthony’s. Can you believe that was some eight years ago? Who could ever forget his departure from the outdoor altar on his first razor scooter down the purpose build ramp into the midst of the congregation?

With vestments flying and the scooter more than flying, he was well on his way, UNTIL the ramp ended and poor Tom’s new scooter came to an abrupt end in the soft earth. We all held our breath as we watched the halt of the scooter, but not of Tom, who continued flying until he landed face down on the grassed aisle of our outdoor Mass setting. A great sigh of relief went around when he stood up and dusted himself down – just as one of our footie greats would do on the field after a crash tackle.

On 31st of January this year, many parishioners of St. Anthony’s attended Tom’s farewell Mass from St. Brigid’s, Marrickville. At this Mass of thanksgiving for his many years of service between 1991 and 2009, we also witnessed the presentation of the Mission Cross to Tom. He left the next morning for St. Joseph’s Boroko in PNG.

No flying scooter this time, but an abundance of love felt right through the overflowing congregation. It was both a very joyous and sad occasion but one we were very privileged to attend. Tom’s Homily was one of many beautiful memories of people and times; also of the pain in moving on. From the parishioners came words of deep gratitude for all Tom’s loving and encouraging time with them.

To top it all off there was an amazing feast of many International foods, home-made by the parishioners, in the adjoining grassed area at St. Brigid’s – a perfect setting to meet and chat with the parishioners and to personally farewell Tom. Instead of departing on the back of a ute upon a ‘Terrey Hills’ throne, Tom was last seen squeezing up through a sun-roof in a 4WD. There were huge smiles and cheers heard round the Church.

Barbara Lunnon