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Death of Australia's oldest priest

100 year old Monsignor George Crennan passed away in Sydney on Tuesday.

Monsignor Crennan is best known for his service as Director of the Federal Catholic Immigration Office from 1949 until 1995. During this time, he was responsible for arranging sponsorship from within the Catholic Church for thousands of refugees from various countries. He also developed, implemented and administered interest-free travel loans for refugees and needy migrants who were not eligible for assistance from other sources.

He was born in Mount Gambier, South Australia, and worked in parishes in the NSW Diocese of Wagga Wagga after seminary studies in Sydney and Rome. In recent years, he has worked as Chaplain to the students of Kincoppal-Rose Bay College in Sydney.

When Monsignor Crennan celebrated his 100th birthday last year, Federal Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Mr Philip Ruddock, paid tribute to his "remarkable involvements [with migrants and refugees and his] positive influence on government policies and directions over the years". Mr Ruddock said Monsignor Crennan "has made a great deal of difference to the lives of countless numbers of people" and that "this will be remembered for a long time to come". Through revolving funds set up directly by the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC), and in association with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) he helped some 60,000 people with an outlay of more than $A18 million.

The funeral mass will take place on Friday at St Mary Magdalene's Parish Church, Rose Bay, with Archbishop George Pell the main celebrant.

Monsignor George Crennan Biography (Catholic Communications)
Mons on 100 not out (Catholic Weekly, 5 Nov 00)

Catholic Communications