Tears flowed and the heavens poured for the Requiem Mass of Fr George O’Mara at Corpus Christi Parish, Cranebrook on Tuesday 13 March 2018.
Over 500 friends, relatives, parishioners and students gathered to pray for Fr George’s soul at a Solemn Requiem Mass celebrated by Most Rev Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, and concelebrated with Most Rev Bede Heather, Emeritus Bishop of Parramatta, and clergy from the Diocese of Parramatta and other dioceses.
Bishop Vincent remembered Fr George and said his loss would be felt by his parishioners at Corpus Christi Parish, Cranebrook where he was parish priest before his death and other parishes in the Diocese of Parramatta.
“Fr George O’Mara has given his all to God and his people. We are all the richer for his presence among us. ” Bishop Vincent said. His parishioners would be “feeling a very strong sense of loss” at the passing of Fr George.
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The congregation overflowed into the nearby school hall, which hosted a live stream of the funeral. Local Catholic students were well represented from Xavier College, Llandilo, and Corpus Christi Parish School and St Dominic’s College, Kingswood.
After the introductory rites, special items were placed on Fr George’s casket. Joan McKenzie placed the Book of the Gospel, Bec Hudson placed Fr George’s volumes of the Liturgy of the Hours, Fr Peter Lamont placed a stole and Des Kelly placed Fr George’s Chalice and Paten.
Paul Devlin, Principal of Corpus Christi Primary, read the First Reading and Pam Kelly, treasured friend of Fr George, read the Second Reading.
Fr Peter Lamont, Parish Priest of Holy Name of Mary Parish, Rydalmere delivered Words of Remembrance, noting Fr George’s intelligence, humour, friendship and faith.
“He was an avid reader, he could digest a book and almost verbatim tell you what he just read,” Fr Peter said, who met Fr George nearly 40 years ago, in their first year at St Patrick’s Seminary, Manly.
“George had his own way, he was a character, of course, but a man of great faith and great prayer.”
Fr Peter thanked many people on Fr George’s behalf, including Sr Maria Marin PBVM, Pam and Des Kelly, Bev Hackett, Mark Buhagiar, Fr Peter Confeggi, Fr Wim Hoekstra, Fr Peter Williams, Bishop Vincent and the many priests who visited him while sick.
“All human suffering aligned with Christ is redemptive. We also know that with Good Friday there’s also an Easter Sunday,” Fr Peter said.
“This Sunday’s Gospel says to us, ‘Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain but if it dies it cannot yields a rich harvest.’
“Our Lord is talking about suffering and death.
“George suffered over the last three years. We know too of course, that he aligned his own sufferings with Christ’s in that very special way.”
Sue Weekes and Marie Cottee, long-time parish secretary, brought up the gifts of water and wine for the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
Many were distraught at the premature death of a priest who bravely faced a three-year battle with cancer.
Young children sobbed at the loss of their parish priest since 2006. Others remembered Fr George celebrating their wedding, or caring for them and relatives in times of distress.