Francis (Frank) Joseph Perry was born to Kath and Frank Perry in 1940 in Perth. His siblings were Pat, Julie and Desmond and they enjoyed a happy childhood which included spending time fishing in the river and footy on Saturdays.
The family’s Catholic faith influenced Frank to consider the call to priesthood at an early age and he was disappointed when told it was not for him as he didn’t have Latin.
Frank had his heart set on being a missionary and later his parish priest advised him to enquire with the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart as a brother. Frank was accepted to join the MSC noviciate at Douglas Park and travelled across Australia to Sydney, one of his many crossings of the Nullarbor.
He was professed as a religious brother in 1963 and after an initial period in Melbourne was appointed to the Northern Territory mission. This was the beginning of 24 years serving as a teacher on the Tiwi Islands and in Papua New Guinea.
Circumstances of seminary life changed and the desire to serve as a priest led Frank to St Paul’s Late Vocations Seminary in 1987.
Ordained in 1991 he was appointed to the Randwick parish in Sydney and served in Darwin as parish priest of Nightcliff, later as the Administrator of the Darwin Cathedral. In 1998 he returned to Sydney as parish priest of Coogee.
Frank came to Adelaide in 2003 as assistant priest in the Hindmarsh parish. Significantly, he committed himself to learn to say Mass in Italian, which he did for the next 14 years until his illness made it too difficult for him.
Frank moved to live at Henley Beach in 2006 to give companionship to Fr Mark McGuinness, and although he continued his ministry in the Hindmarsh parish he re-established his links with the young people of Antioch at Henley Beach.
After Easter this year Frank’s pain increased and he moved to Flora MacDonald Calvary. Once there he settled in and became part of the community joining in all the activities that were offered – even painting.
He died peacefully at Mary Potter Hospice, with his MSC brothers and friends from Antioch keeping him company.
In whatever capacity he worked, ministered or lived, his focus was on those around him and how he could assist them. He went out of his way and put others before himself and did not limit himself, but did the best he could for them.
In terms of caring for people Frank was able to talk to anyone and loved to spend time with those he got to know.
His going will leave a gap in many people’s hearts. His relationship with Jesus was the source of his commitment to others and revealed for him the presence of God among us.
Taken from the eulogy given by Fr Paul Cashen MSC, who was professed with Fr Frank in 1963.Jump to next article