Sydney’s oldest priest dies at 99

Sydney’s oldest priest has died at the age of 99 after an extraordinary 75 years of priesthood.
Fr Frank Martin pictured in October 2015 with Bishop Terry Brady and Mons Brian Rayner. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

This story originally appeared in the Catholic Weekly.

Fr Frank Martin died on 7 March at Sutherland Hospital.

He was honoured last October with a papal honour, the Croce pro Ecclesia et Pontiface, for his “outstanding and very long and lasting devotion to the priesthood and to the archdiocese of Sydney”.

Bishop Terry Brady, auxiliary bishop of Sydney, presented the papal cross to the priest at Stella Maris Aged Care Home, Cronulla, his home of many years.

Gymea parish priest Mons Brian Rayner, once an altar boy during Fr Frank’s days at East Granville, saw Fr Frank as a priestly role model and friend.

A memorable preacher throughout Mons Rayner’s youth, Fr Frank once again demonstrated his gift for inspiring a congregation when he spoke at an anniversary Mass for St Catherine Laboure several years ago.

“His sight was failing and he was using a huge magnifying glass with his face almost on the page when he read,” Mons Rayner told The Catholic Weekly in an October 2015 interview. “But then he started preaching and he was amazing. He has never lost his love of the priesthood or his power as a preacher.”

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