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Long service to country parishes


Ordained in his home town parish of Tailem Bend, Fr Jack Boog has served many country parishes as well as the Marriage Encounter movement in his 50 years of priesthood.

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Members of the Modbury-Para Hills parish gathered on September 9 to celebrate Fr Jack’s golden jubilee and his various ministries for the Church.

Born in Rotterdam during World War II, Fr Jack moved to Australia with his parents, three sisters and brother in 1955. He attended the Dominican School in High St, Glenelg for six months before the family moved to Tailem Bend where his parents lived until retirement.

He went to the St Joseph’s convent school for one year and spent two years boarding at the Marist Brothers Agricultural College (now Tenison College) in Mount Gambier before entering St Francis Xavier’s seminary two years later at the age of 15 in January 1959.

One of his fellow seminarians was Fr Anthony Kain, and they both studied theology at a time of great change in the Church with the Second Vatican Council.

Fr Jack was ordained by Bishop James Gleeson on September 7 1968 in the church where the Boog family had prayed and worshipped for many years. (His class in the seminary was the first allowed to be ordained in their home parish instead of the Cathedral.)

His early appointments were as assistant priest to Fr Robert Aitken in the Cathedral, Fr Bob Rice at Glenelg, and Mons Michael Dunne at Kurralta Park/Plympton.

In 1976 he was appointed parish priest to the Millicent Catholic community. At the time Millicent parish had six Mass centres, a convent of four Mercy Sisters and a convent school.

Fr Jack said he was indebted to Frs Tony Densely, Peter Fountain and Bob Crawford for being assistant priests and in spreading the word of God during his 11 “wonderful” years there.

During his spare time at Millicent, Fr Jack learned to fly and obtained his pilot’s licence. On one occasion he flew Archbishop Faulkner in a Cessna around the South East to give him an aerial view of the six parishes. Apart from two long distance trips and helping at the gliding club at Millicent, he also travelled to Adelaide for five years to attend priests’ regional meetings and was the clergy representative on the South Australian Commission for Catholic Schools for four years.

In 1987 Fr Jack began his ministry as parish priest in Murray Bridge, where the families of two of his sisters lived. After eight years he moved to Willunga, also ministering at Aldinga, McLaren Vale and Normanville.

Another country appointment in 2001 saw Fr Jack moving to serve the people of Balaklava, Port Wakefield, Hamley Bridge and places in the Mid North of the Archdiocese. He was Dean of the Mid North for three years.

On July 4 2008 Fr Jack said God presented him with a “U turn” in his priestly ministry. On a Marriage Encounter weekend in Sydney he had a debilitating heart attack. He was hospitalised and on his recovery returned to Adelaide for rehabilitation, spending some time at the Archbishop’s house, the presbytery at Salisbury and finally St Peters for nearly a year.

In October 2009 he became priest in residence at Modbury-Para Hills with the aim of assisting with the celebration of weekend Masses for Fr Peter Milburn who was nearing his retirement. Fr Jack’s sister Corrie and her husband still live in the parish.

In these past years of reduced active priestly duties, Fr Jack has continued in leadership in the Marriage Encounter Movement and was part of the national leadership from 2008 to 2012.

He completed a refresher course in Bible studies at the Catholic Theological College in Adelaide and out of this came the desire to lead many groups of people to the Holy Land.

Fr Jack said he enjoyed witnessing the increased level and deepening of faith of the many people who have joined him on these pilgrimages.

“As pilgrims, these people have learnt so much, by walking in the footsteps of Jesus in Galilee and Jerusalem,” he said.

In his semi-retirement, Fr Jack has also enjoyed  attending photography classes at the University of the Third Age at Tea Tree Gully and is now teaching a class there himself.


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