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Pat steps down after 38 years

Local

Parishioners at Clearview-Kilburn gathered to give thanks for the untiring service of pastoral associate Pat Hehir when she retired last month.

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A Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated at the Good Shepherd Church on July 15 to acknowledge Pat’s work in the parish since 1980.

The longest serving pastoral associate in the Archdiocese, Pat was described as the “backbone” of the parish.

Fr Leon Czechowicz said Pat, 83, had been “extraordinarily good, capable and helpful” in her work over many years.

“She’s been the backbone of the work done at firstly Clearview and then the combined parish,” he said.

Pat started her role when Fr Jim Sayers was parish priest. She said Fr Jim had studied in the USA and after seeing the impact women were having in the Church there he was determined that more females should be involved in the Archdiocese.

“He spoke with Archbishop Gleeson about it and before you knew it I was working here,” she said.

Over the years she undertook university study to gain a diocesan diploma in Church Ministry and also filled the role of deputy chair of the Diocesan Pastoral Council and was part of the Diocesan Liturgical Commission. In 2006 Pat received a Papal Honour, Dame of the Order of St Gregory the Great.

Reflecting on almost four decades of work, Pat said she was proud of what had been achieved.

“We’ve got a very strong parish group and we’ve built up the programs over the years.”

Some of these include a well-attended children’s liturgy program and establishing a Youth Mass at Clearview.

A talented netballer and member of the 1956 Olympic squad for high jump, Pat said she had always kept herself fit which “means I have not had many sick days” in 38 years.

While retiring as pastoral associate, there is no doubt her presence will continue to be felt.

“I am still going to be very much part of the parish,” she said.

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