145 years of priestly service celebrated

(From left) Bishop Michael Dooley with jubilarians Frs Tony Harrison, Tom Keyes and Michael Hishon.

Dunedin Bishop Michael Dooley thanked Frs Tom Keyes, Tony Harrison and Michael Hishon for their
combined 145 years of priestly service, as he (Bishop Dooley) called on his brother priests to refocus
“around the presence of Jesus”.

In his homily at the Jubilee Mass celebrated at St Mary’s Basilica in Invercargill on May 4, Bishop Dooley
said that Jesus is the only one who gives meaning to this kind of service.

“Jesus is our centre and focus if we are to understand what and why we are doing what we are doing,”
he said.

“Part of our thanksgiving today is the openness with which Fr Michael, Fr Tony and Fr Tom have responded
to the call to priesthood, and over these many years have faithfully tried to live out the Gospel. Without
faith, it would not make much sense, but with faith and with that sense of trying to provide the food that
endures to eternal life, it is possible to live a life of deep meaning as we strive to follow Christ.”

Fr Keyes celebrated 70 years of priestly ministry, Fr Harrison 50 years and Fr Hishon 25 years. Fr
Keyes was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1971 for services to the rehabilitation of young offenders.

Bishop Dooley acknowledged that being a priest nowadays is challenging, admitting that “I always hold my
breath when someone asks me what I do and I tell them I am a bishop”.

“It is often remarked on that it is not easy in our present-day society to be a Christian or to be a Catholic
or to be a priest. Expression of religious faith is often frowned upon, and treated with bemusement or
even outright aggression and contempt,” he said.

Bishop Dooley said that “sexual abuse crimes committed by leaders in the Church are an issue that we
in New Zealand are facing” with the ongoing Royal Commission inquiry on Abuse in Care.

“I think it is natural for most of us to be very sensitive to people’s responses, and we often brace for
the worst, but my experience is that most people are not antagonistic,” he said.

The bishop said that the key to facing these issues is “to let Jesus into that place of reflection so that
that he can direct us”.
“The disciples that gathered in the closed room, and then by the sea of Galilee, were ravaged by pain
and loss, and yet in a short space of time they had refocused on Jesus and were courageous and joyful in
preaching the Gospel,” he said.

He said that there will be apathy and opposition to the Church, but “grace and power comes to us
through Jesus”.

“We have a message given to us by Jesus which speaks of the most important things in life. This is the
food that endures to eternal life and will not perish,” he said.

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Rowena Orejana

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