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Family and friends farewell Fr John Brosnan

More than 2000 packed Melbourne's St Patrick's Cathedral yesterday morning for the state funeral of Fr John Brosnan who died last week aged 83.

The procession past the flag-decked coffin of the knockabout priest was led by three archbishops, four bishops and 100 priests.

Premier Steve Bracks and Opposition Leader Robert Doyle were in the front row alongside the National Party's Peter Ryan. Two former premiers, John Cain and Joan Kirner, were close by, as was former governor Sir James Gobbo.

But scattered throughout the congregation and down the back were hard men and women who sobbed and rubbed tears from their eyes when the requiem mass ended and that great procession led the body of a humble priest out of the cathedral.

One person in the know reckoned that as much as 30% of the congregation was made up of former Pentridge prisoners who had come to say goodbye to the man who was their chaplain for 30 years, the confidant and confessor to Ronald Ryan, the last man hanged in Australia in 1967.

"Fr John was a person who saw good in so many people . . . a person whose remarkable gift was to convey warmth and give hope," said Archbishop Denis Hart, who led the service and gave the eulogy.

The report in The Herald-Sun seemed suggested yesterdays Gospel summed up the life's work of Fr John Brosnan: "I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink."


Humble priest gets grand send-off (The Age)
Brosnan Centre farewells Fr Brosnan (3/4/03)
Death of 'knockabout priest' (27/3/03)
Jesuit Social Services | Jesuit Social Services">Fr Brosnan Flash Tribute
New Appeal Fund Launched To Remember the Life and Work of Father John Brosnan

4 Apr 2003