Fond farewell to St Paul’s parish priest
A crowd of hundreds packed into the grounds of a Karratha primary school on Saturday night to farewell beloved St Paul’s Parish priest Father Steve Casey and pay tribute to his 12 years of service to the community.
Father Casey will be leaving the Catholic parish for a new posting in Dongara this month.
To farewell him, about 220 adults and 80 children from as far afield as Port Hedland, Pannawonica and Perth attended a special mass in St Paul’s Primary School hall, followed by dinner in the courtyard.
Local priests, nuns, chaplains, school principals, parishioners and friends were among the many people who gave speeches thanking him for long service.
Father Casey said as much as he loved the Pilbara, it was time for a change and he was confident of leaving the parish in good hands with his successor, current assistant parish priest Father Bernard Balaraj.
“I am sad to leave,” he said. “Karratha’s been a wonderful community and I’ve learnt so much and made many good friends and they’ve been a deep part of my life being here for 12 years.”
Father Casey said “sharing those small family celebrations” with community members had been the highlights of his time here.
“I don’t know that I do anything particularly different from what other parishes do, it’s just being a part of the life of the people who live here,” he said.
Father Balaraj said Father Casey had been an inspiration to him personally and many other members of the community, as shown by the big turnout.
“Father Steve has been such an important person here. Every body loves him, from the small to the old,” he said.
St Paul's Parish assistant priest Father Bernard Balaraj and parish priest Father Steve Casey at the farewell party held at St Paul's Primary School.