Long-serving priest ups stumps
There was no doubting the amount of goodwill in the Pilbara community towards St Paul’s Parish priest Father Steve Casey by those who attended his farewell party earlier this month.
The impact the priest has made in his 12 years here was made abundantly clear by hundreds of adults and children, who gathered at St Paul’s Primary School for the occasion on June 11.
Assistant parish priest and event MC Father Bernad Balaraj wished him success and St Paul’s Primary School principal Gina Burns gave a speech thanking him for his guidance at the school.
Karratha dance teacher Megan Wood-Hill and her students then presented a contemporary dance in Father Casey’s honour after years of sharing the St Paul’s Catholic Church hall alongside him.
St Luke’s College principal Alana Otway, Pilbara Regiment chaplain Mick George and St Paul’s parishioners also spoke, Port Hedland residents John and Charlene Peters presented Father Casey with a gift on behalf of Labor politician Stephen Dawson, and the St Paul’s Church Choir performed a farewell song.
Vita Cafe catered the event at a discounted rate and DJ Giggaboyz played a great set that had even the priest himself dancing.
Father Casey said he had not expected such a big crowd.
“I’m very honoured, really, that all these people have come to farewell me. I’m quite surprised,” he said. “I knew they were having a farewell mass and dinner, but I had no idea so many people would turn up. I’m humbled.”
He said it would be difficult to leave the parish.
“I love the Pilbara. I love the landscape, I love the people, and the life up here is a good experience,” he said. “So it’s going to be a big change to get used to going down south again.”
Father Balaraj said parishioners worked on the party for three months.
Father Casey leaves the Pilbara for a new posting in Dongara at the end of this month.
Father Steve Casey with St Paul's parishioners.
St Paul's Primary School staff.
Peter Long, Vicki Long, Mick George and Tammy George.
Pip Arthur, Yvette Bendall and Dave Arthur.
Kieran Saunders and Tim Byrne.
Noel Philpot and Father Steve Casey.
Michael Harlen and Rob Little.