After more than 16 years at Holy Family Parish in Mt Druitt, NSW, Fr Patrick Mullins SJ was recently given a memorable and moving farewell by those whose lives he influenced so profoundly.
Precisely because Fr Pat Mullins SJ is not the sort of person to make a song and dance about anything, the parishioners of Holy Family Parish in Mt Druitt did exactly that at his farewell on Sunday 27 August, celebrating him in song and dance.
It was a very emotional occasion for Pat as he was shown so much love by those whom he had guided and whose company he had cherished during his sixteen years in the parish. After a number of weeks of medical treatment at the Mt Druitt Hospital, Pat has moved to the Arrupe residence in Pymble, where he continues along the road to recovery.
The Holy Family parish council arranged for Pat’s farewell in the school hall after the 10:30 am Mass. Pat’s brother Fr Paul Mullins SJ, the Province Socius, was also here, representing the Provincial, who was overseas. A third Mullins sibling, Chris, travelled from Wagga Wagga for the Eucharistic celebration.
Mt Druitt Jesuit community superior Fr Nguyen Viet Huy SJ was the main celebrant and was joined by Frs Pat, Paul, and Singaporean tertian Augustinus (Agus) Tanudjaje SJ. It was a privilege for me to participate as well. During the Eucharistic celebration, Huy in his homily thanked Pat for his years of service. Before the final blessing, Pat thanked everyone for their friendship and love. Then Paul, as the acting Provincial, acknowledged Pat’s contribution to the Parish community and thanked the Parish on behalf of the Province for the support given to Pat over the many years of his service to this wonderfully diverse community.
After the Mass, the hall was packed with parishioners. Every table was laden with home-cooked food brought by Pat’s friends, in gratitude for his devoted service, his presence, his love and support and of course his homilies. Pat’s impact on many people in the wider community has been considerable. His ministry encompassed the Aboriginal community, the primary school, the Tongan and Samoan communities, the Philippine community, St Vincent de Paul, the men’s shed community and so many others. He served a vast number of people and responded to the many in need.
The final group ‘thank you’ was delivered by the parish council. They asked Pat to return, reflecting the love, respect and deep affection they have for him.
Fr Renato Zecchin SJ is Assistant Priest at Holy Family Parish, Mt Druitt.
Reproduced with permission from the Society of Jesus in Australia (Australian Jesuits).