Parish priest comes full circle
FATHER Adrian Farrelly is the "new” priest in Gayndah parish, which also includes Mundubbera and Eidsvold, but those with a particularly long memory may recognise his face.
"I am no stranger to Gayndah,” Fr Farrelly said.
He first came as an assistant priest in 1977, serving under Father Leo Skelly, before being appointed parish priest in 1979, when Fr Skelly was transferred.
He stayed until 1983, when he was asked to do post-graduate studies in Ottowa, Canada.
Being the first parish where he served as parish priest, it will always have "a special place in my heart”.
"Many of the people I came to know 40 years ago are still here,” Fr Farrelly said.
However, Fr Farrelly is not returning to his role of parish priest.
He has been appointed "administrator” of the parish by Archbishop Mark Coleridge, leader of the Archdiocese of Brisbane.
"An administrator provides a caretaker government, similar to when the government calls an election,” Fr Farrelly said.
"The ship keeps running but nothing is done that is drastically new.
"I am hoping that the parish will be given another resident priest.”
Fr Farrelly, who is the parish priest of Gympie, said he and his associate pastor, Father Dominic Orih, a young Nigerian priest, take turns to "provide celebrations of the Eucharist”, in the parish's three churches, St Joseph's in Gayndah, St Mary's in Mundubbera, and St Patrick's in Eidsvold.
"We do not have as many priests now as we did 40 years ago,” Fr Farrelly said.
"All of the priests in this northern part of the Archdiocese of Brisbane come from overseas, mainly India, with some from Nigeria.
"Being priests in our rural parishes is a very different experience for them.”