In a triple milestone, Fr Valladares also celebrated his 75th birthday and 30 years of priestly ministry in the Adelaide Archdiocese.
He was joined by his seven siblings and their families, friends from Australia and overseas, and fellow clergy at Mass in St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral followed by a shared meal on January 22.
Fr Valladares expressed his gratitude to all who attended, in particular those who had travelled from interstate and overseas. “I am truly touched and thank you most sincerely,” he said.
He paid tribute to his parents Stanley Jerome and Raynah Marie who had encouraged him to pursue his priestly vocation. “Today they are very much with me in this joyful and memorable celebration and to my ongoing commitment to the priestly ministry…may they rest in eternal peace.”
Fr Valladares served in three parishes in the Archdiocese of Bombay as an assistant priest and chaplain in the parish school from 1969 to 1988.
He also lectured in psychology at the under-graduate level in St Andrew’s College, Bombay, from 1979 to 1988 and acquired a doctorate in counselling psychology in 1990.
After emigrating to Adelaide In 1988, he served in seven parishes – Elizabeth, St Mary’s (now St Ann’s), Glenelg, Mt Barker, Yorke Peninsula, Dulwich-Burnside and Adelaide Cathedral Parish. He also was chaplain to parish schools, local hospitals and nursing homes.
Fr Valladares said over the past 50 years he had tried to “walk in the footsteps of Christ Jesus, who came not to be served, but to serve and that we all may have life and in abundance”.
“The ultimate measure of a truly Christ-like priest, I believe, is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy,” he said.
“The true priest, in imitation of Christ Jesus, will risk his position, his prestige and even his life for the welfare of others. In dangerous valleys and hazardous pathways, he will lift some bruised and beaten brother/sister to a higher and more noble life.”
Fr Valladares said the biblical story of David and Goliath had made an indelible mark on him ever since he first heard it as a primary school student.
“True to my Christ-assigned mission, I have endeavoured to impress upon my listeners that, against all odds, they can beat any giant, just as the shepherd David triumphed over the warrior Goliath,” he said.
“It is my personal belief that ‘the little guy always wins’.”
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