Ray was born in Hobart and spent some of his childhood at Strahan until the family moved to Midway Point. He came from a large family of seven children, including his sister Patricia who belongs to the Missionary Sisters of Service.
Ray was a linotype/print setter, a vanished skill, before joining the Passionists and attending the juniorate at St Ives in Sydney and the novitiate in Goulburn. He came to Adelaide to complete philosophy studies and moved to the newly-opened seminary in Templestowe in Melbourne for his theological studies.
After his ordination he was involved in parish missions and retreats at Glen Osmond (1972-74), was novice master at St Ives in Sydney (1975-77) and retreat house director in Hamilton New Zealand (1978-80).
Returning to Australia, Ray was part of a small community in Botany, Sydney, doing industrial chaplaincy for four years and was then appointed as rector of Marrickville in Sydney.
During this time he worked with the Wayside Chapel created by Rev Ted Noffs to care for street kids.
Ray wrote in 1987: ‘I do believe God loves these kids in a very special way, which perhaps is just as well because few others do, at least in their eyes. If my work makes them realise that God does love and care for them, then that makes my efforts worthwhile’.
After eight years as community leader at Marrickville, Ray was moved to Oxley, Brisbane, where he was community leader and hospital chaplain to Canossa Hospital.
He then served as community leader in Highgate, London, for another eight years. They were short of priests at that time and Ray answered the call to help.
It was during these years that Ray proved himself a thoughtful character and great host to the many Passionists who came to London from Australia.
He was a buzz of energy and kindness himself. He never let the cold weather deter him from showing someone around London and the local Passionists were shocked to learn that he had driven up and back to Scotland, or down and back to Land’s End, in a day.
He was a great film buff and was even invited to join the Film Classification Board.
Two years ago Ray generously accepted an appointment in Adelaide where his presence was needed to support the Glen Osmond community and especially to assist in the various parish Masses.
He enjoyed his time at The Monastery and in the Archdiocese very much. It was while preparing for the parish Mass at St Raphael’s Parkside that he passed away.
Ray will be greatly missed by his family and his community – they were his principal focus and source of companionship and support.
He may have been smaller in stature, but was large in personality.
Passionists throughout Australia, the USA and the UK will be telling many memorable stories about Ray as they knew him from his time at Highgate and through his visits to the United States to raise money for missions in Papua New Guinea and Vietnam.
Ray was always willing to go wherever he was needed in order to serve the Passionist Province, and more importantly, the wider Church.
With his great ‘gift of the gab’, Ray will always be remembered with great affection.
Edited version of the eulogy by Fr Tony Egar CP.Jump to next article