Farewell Fa­ther

Southern Riverina news - - NEWS - By Anne Free­stone

Fa­ther Martin Cruick­shank, the Catholic pri­est of the Catholic parishes of Fin­ley and Tocumwal, will leave our lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties at the end of Oc­to­ber to take up a sim­i­lar po­si­tion at Sa­cred Heart, North Al­bury.

Fr Martin (pic­tured) was or­dained to the priestly min­istry in Septem­ber 1993 and served in Lee­ton as an as­sis­tant pri­est un­til his ap­point­ment to Fin­ley/ Tocumwal in 1999.

Fr Martin, or just Martin as he prefers, has en­deared him­self to peo­ple of all re­li­gious and non­re­li­gious mem­bers of the com­mu­nity and will be greatly missed when he takes up his po­si­tion in Al­bury.

Dur­ing his time in the area, Martin has be­come in­volved in many or­gan­i­sa­tions and sport­ing ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing golf and bowls. It is said that there may even be some golf mem­bers who will now have a chance of win­ning the Wed­nes­day men’s com­pe­ti­tion.

He is a keen sup­porter of Essendon Foot­ball Club and en­joys his an­nual visit to the city to at­tend the Mel­bourne Cup.

When asked what his time in the area has meant to him, Martin said, ‘‘I have felt deeply priv­i­leged to be in­vited into the in­ti­mate mo­ments and move­ments of peo­ple’s lives, re­gard­less of re­li­gious af­fil­i­a­tion or be­lief, par­tic­u­larly in times of sad­ness, loss and grief’’.

‘‘I am most grate­ful to the other min­is­ters and lay faith lead­ers for their un­con­di­tional sup­port,’’ he said.

‘‘Our reg­u­lar gath­er­ings have pro­vided an op­por­tu­nity to pray to­gether, and to lis­ten to and en­cour­age one an­other.

‘‘While the dis­cus­sion has of­ten been ro­bust, there has al­ways been a deep sense of re­spect for a di­ver­sity of views on is­sues that af­fect our com­mu­ni­ties.

‘‘Our Easter, Christ­mas, An­zac Day and be­reave­ment ser­vices have pro­vided an op­portu- nity to serve the com­mu­nity as a united Chris­tian voice.

‘‘The last 18 years have seen a tremen­dous growth in aged care fa­cil­i­ties and qual­ity pas­toral care ac­tiv­i­ties.

‘‘I be­lieve that we need to con­tinue to lobby govern­ment at all lev­els for im­proved men­tal health pro­grams and re­sources in our re­gion.

‘‘The sense of the sa­cred in th­ese com­mu­ni­ties has al­ways been for me a source of great bless­ing. I will miss the smells and sounds of liv­ing in a coun­try town, along with its dis­tinct char­ac­ters, vi­tal­ity and strong vis­i­ble bonds that bind a com­mu­nity like ours to­gether.

‘‘I wish to thank the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties for the wel­come, ac­cep­tance and friend­ship ex­tended to me over the last 18 years.’’

Martin has seen many changes take place dur­ing his time in the parishes, which in­cludes su­per­vis­ing ex­ten­sive ren­o­va­tions to Tocumwal’s St Peter’s Church and in­te­rior ren­o­va­tions to Fin­ley’s St Mary’s Church.

He has also been in­volved with lo­cal pri­mary schools, build­ing pro­grams, and is de­lighted with the fa­cil­i­ties now avail­able to lo­cal stu­dents.

One of his most mem­o­rable achieve­ments has been to help ini­ti­ate the an­nual ec­u­meni­cal be­reave­ment ser­vice which has brought much com­fort to many fam­i­lies.

Mem­bers of the Ber­ri­gan Shire com­mu­ni­ties will have an op­por­tu­nity to ex­press their ap­pre­ci­a­tion for Martin’s friend­ship and as­sis­tance dur­ing his time in the area with an open farewell func­tion to be held at the Fin­ley Bowl­ing Club on Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 22. It will be­gin at noon.

Fin­ger food will be pro­vided and, whilst it is not nec­es­sary to RSVP, it would be ap­pre­ci­ated to in­di­cate your at­ten­dance for cater­ing pur­poses. Con­tact Veron­ica Bray­bon on 0409 044 848 or Aileen Phe­lan on 0427 132 713.

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