Thursday, 26 March 2020 16:44

Happy 99th Birthday, Fr Pat!

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2020CFPWeb150Today Fr Pat Harney turns 99 years young! He has been a Carmelite for nearly 75 years and a priest for 68. Fr Pat is the oldest Carmelite Friars in the world. Over the years, Pat has worked all over Australia and in New Zealand, in Carmelite and Diocesan parishes and hospitals. "I've been everywhere, man!" he loves to quote from the famous song, when asked about his many places of ministry. 

Born in 1921 in Elmore (Victoria), Fr Pat was the second of eight children. He remembers his home life filled with daily rosary, private morning prayer and Sunday Mass.

As Fr Pat shared, “Our faith was just part of our lives.” It was this faith that led Fr Pat to decide to become a priest. “When I dropped the bombshell to my family, I learnt that it was the prayer of my mother… that half her family would enter religious life.”

At 25 years of age, Fr Pat started his Novitiate and by January 1952 was ordained by the then Bishop of Sandhurst, the Most Rev. Dr. Stewart in the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Bendigo (Victoria). As a Carmelite, Fr Pat has served communities near and far across Australia and New Zealand as Pastor, Prior, Assistant Novice Master, Chaplain at Sacred Heart College, Glen Innes, in New Zealand. He also served for 16 years as Chaplain at St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne (Victoria). Fr Pat is not only well-known but much loved by so many people and communities, having served at every parish the Carmelites ever held in Australia and New Zealand and having filled in for priests who were on leave. Fr Pat’s journey in life is intrinsically connected to his faith and love of God. “Throughout my life, the hand of God has guided me in a remarkable way and still does.” Not one for slowing down even after retiring from active service in 2010, Fr Pat continued to celebrate morning Mass at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Middle Park (Victoria) until the new COVID-19 restrictions forced the suspension of dialy mass.

Congratulations, Pat!

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