The Cathedral Connection 5 November 2017

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FAREWELL TO A PRIEST

Fr John Berry was parish priest of our Cathedral Parish from 1997 to 2004. He died last week, 26 October, after some years of ill health and care in the Home of Compassion, Silverstream. His Requiem Mass was in the Cathedral he served and loved so faithfully, on Friday 3 November.

It is difficult to summarise the life of a priest. His ministry is among people and within the circumstances, concerns and even contradictions of their lives. He meets their sorrows and their joys, and holds confidences which he can never share. His own personality can be interpreted or experienced according to the variety of roles in which he is placed. He is a public figure for whom privacy can be elusive. He is an individual who lives for the common good.

From the tributes given Fr John, it is apparent that he lived his priesthood with great generosity, touching the lives of people with compassion and empathy. I knew him as priest eager to give his best. He placed his communication and music skills at the service of God’s people with humour and delightful energy and brought dignity and grace to the liturgy. He lived a life of stewardship.

For all this, he offered his priesthood without favour, meaning that each person could perhaps have a different appreciation of his work. That is why an accurate summary is so difficult. What is most important now, is to thank God for the priestly ministry that meant so much to John Berry and to those he served, to pray for him as he enters the reign of God he lived for, and to encourage others to take his place in our crazy, difficult to define but extraordinarily wonderful priesthood!

Fr James

The full newsletter can be viewed here.