"Boy from Ganmain" takes leave of Canberra

"A dear friend to indigenous people", "gentle pastor", "spirit-filled preacher" were among the many titles bestowed on retiring Archbishop Francis Carroll during his farewell tour this month of the Canberra Goulburn Archiocese.

The Catholic Voice reports that people came from all parts of the Archdiocese, all backgrounds, ages and cultures to thank the man who served them as their faithful shepherd for the past 23 years.

Farewells were held across the Archdiocese in West Wyalong, Cootamundra, Goulburn, Cooma, Cobargo and Canberra to mark the end of an era with the retirement of Archbishop Francis Carroll.

Gentle pastor, brother, spirit-filled preacher, compassionate ... these were some of the descriptions of Archbishop Francis Carroll expressed by parishioners of the Archdiocese's western deanery in a West Wyalong liturgy.

In St Christopher's Cathedral, Ngunnawal elder Agnes Shea described him as "a very dear friend of indigenous people".

In reply to tributes by Eileen Glass, Sr Genny Ryan and Fr John Woods, Archbishop Carroll spoke of his sense of accountability in his role as shepherd.

Two real qualities marked a good shepherd, compassion and peacemaking, he said.

Two brother priests, Mgr John Hoare and Fr Joe Rheinberger, and his sister Rose, all of whom died last month, had been good shepherds to those around them.

"Every one of us is called to be a good shepherd, to share the qualities of Jesus, to see the needs of our bothers and sisters and to respond humbly."

Among many tributes, Anglican Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn George Browning noted Archbishop Carroll's commitment to ecumenism. "I believe he has personally called half the diocesan synods held anywhere in Australia following Vatican 2," Bishop Browning added.

Kaye Mundine recalled that "The Arch", or Fr Francis as he became known in the Aboriginal community, encouraged indigenous people "to be involved in raising the conscious of non-Aboriginal people, such as assisting us through the church and members in organising the 'peaceful presence' at the opening of Parliament House in Canberra".

National Catholic Education Commission chair, Mgr Tom Doyle concluded that Archbishop Carroll has been "one of the major figures in Catholic education" over the last 40 years.

Memories of Fr Francis (Catholic Voice, August 2006)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese
Arhbishop Francis Carroll (catholic-hierarchy.org)

ACU National honours Archbishop Francis Carroll (CathNews, 4/4/06)
Archbishop Carroll submits resignation to Pope (CathNews, 23/8/05)

Tributes to Archbishop Carroll (Catholic Voice, August 2006)

28 Jul 2006