Rendering love and care for the service life of our priests – Catholic Outlook
Bishop John Boyle and Fr Chris Dixon are much loved and well known priests throughout the Diocese of Parramatta, having dedicated their lives to God and his people. And now, enjoying their retirement, they are grateful for the ties that continue to bind them to the lives of those they served.
Supported by the Clergy Support Foundation and the generosity of the community, the two priests live in a retirement home provided by the diocese, after leaving full-time parish ministry.
However, they remain active and busy, filling in for priests on leave and engaging in other ministries as needed.
Mons John says he is grateful to still have strong social ties with former parishioners and others in the diocese.
“I am regularly invited to dinner by my former parishioners,” he says. “They want to take care of me. I feel like I’m still in their community, even though I’m not there 24/7 anymore.
“I am more than happy to do whatever our Father’s Church asks, as I still feel very connected to the people of our diocese. If I can still render service, it is my vocation and my commitment.
Mons John, who was born and raised in Parramatta, was ordained in 1971 for the Archdiocese of Sydney, serving first as an assistant priest in Gymea, then in Darlinghurst, The Entrance, Ryde, Concord, Kogarah, Haberfield and Castle Hill.
When the Archdiocese of Sydney was split to form the new Dioceses of Parramatta and Broken Bay in 1986, Mons John became part of the Diocese of Parramatta, where he was parish priest of Westmead. He also served as parish priest at Parramatta, Seven Hills and Castle Hill.
During his years of active ministry, he was appointed to the Council of Priests, served as Dean of the Hills Deanery, and Vicar of Health and Chaplaincies. Monsignor John served as an Air Force Reserve Chaplain from September 1984 to December 2011. He was appointed Monsignor in 2014, and his last appointment before his retirement was in Rome as Rector of Domus Australia.
Mons John says that while he remains busy and active in retirement, he is deeply grateful to be able to live in the Diocesan Retired Priests Housing, which is supported by the Clergy Support Foundation, and receive care from Diocesan Clergy Health. and Wellness Team.
“It brings out a huge sense of gratitude in me, that we can live in this comfortable place and have people come to make sure we are safe and healthy,” he says.
The Clergy Health and Wellness team is led by Dr. Mark Buhagiar and supported by Clergy Health Care Coordinators Elizabeth Hanrahan and Ellen Small. Together, they provide for the needs of the 21 retired priests of the diocese and members of the clergy in poor health.
Father Chris Dixon says he too is grateful to be so well supported in retirement.
“It’s a joy to be able to retire and live the way we do. It’s quite a privilege,” he said.
“I am deeply grateful for the generosity of the people of our diocese.
Fr Chris was ordained in 1970 for the Archdiocese of Sydney and has served as assistant priest in Gladesville, Penrith, Randwick, Forest Lodge, Earlwood and Mt Druitt: as well as administrator in Terrigal.
He served as an assistant priest in Penrith when the Diocese of Parramatta was formed, and then as an assistant priest in Castle Hill.
As founding pastor of the parish of Kenthurst, Father Chris’ role was to form the community and build the parish hall and schools. He pioneered the idea of a new and larger church to accommodate the growing religious community. The current parish priest, Father Vincent Savarimuthu, picked up the idea and continued it, prompting the construction of a new church, which was officially blessed and opened by Bishop Vincent in 2019.
Following an appointment at North Rocks, Fr Chris spent 18 months working in the Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes, alongside his role as administrator at South Baulkham Hills, prior to his retirement.
Father Chris says one of the most important things for him in retired life is the ability to provide ongoing spiritual guidance.
“The privilege of being able to tell people about your own experience of getting to know Jesus, that, to me, is sharing something sacred and wonderful,” he says.
Mark Buhagiar says the Clergy Support Foundation Father’s Day Appeal is an opportunity to return the love and care of our priests by supporting them during their retirement.
“Our priests looked after us in the parishes all their lives, including important moments such as baptism, first communion, confirmation and marriage,” he said.
“So this is our opportunity, as Catholics and as parishioners, to show our gratitude and care to those who have taken care of us, when they need us.”
To donate to the Clergy Support Foundation Father’s Day Appeal, please call (02) 8838 3482 or visit parracatholic.org/fathersdayappealco