The Southern Cross The Southern Cross

Read the latest edition. Latest edition

Platinum jubilee for Monsignor Aitken


When a fresh-faced 23-year-old Robert Aitken was ordained in 1952, Pope Pius XII was head of the Church, Robert Menzies was prime minister of Australia and a loaf of bread cost seven cents.

Comments Print article

Much has changed in the world over the ensuing 70 years but a constant has been Monsignor Aitken’s great love of the Eucharist and the Mass.

While health issues put a hold to his platinum jubilee celebrations, many parishioners in the Archdiocese wanted to pay tribute to Mgr Aitken’s long ministry.

Ordained by Archbishop Matthew Beovich in St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral on July 22 1952,
Mgr Aitken, 93, was Vicar General from 1980 to 1989 and also served in the parishes of Croydon, St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral and Dulwish/Burnside.

He had a 60 plus year association with Christian Brothers College, as the school’s chaplain and supporting students in their sacramental journey.

Speaking at the Thanksgiving Mass to celebrate his diamond jubilee, Fr Peter Zwaans said
Mgr Aitken was endowed with a great many gifts.

“God has supported those gifts with his grace; by God’s grace Monsignor has become and remained a committed, loyal, obedient and hard-working priest, one of Christ’s good and faithful servants,” he said.

“To be sure, he has cooperated with God’s grace, he has given God his freedom and his every effort; but the priest he has become has been God’s work.”

At Mgr Aitken’s 90th birthday celebrations in 2020, members of the Cathedral parish spoke fondly of his long association with the Cathedral, firstly as administrator and then with Dulwich/Burnside parish.

They said Monsignor was ‘admired as a preacher, a lover of fine liturgical music, a priest dedicated to the sick and dying’, describing him as a ‘person of warm hospitality’ and ‘a great supporter of the communities of Religious Sisters and Brothers who lived and worked in the city’.

Fr Dean Marin, Vicar General, congratulated Mgr Aitken on his 70th anniversary.

“The Eucharist and its celebration in the Cathedral, parishes and with many different communities has been central to his priestly ministry,” Fr Marin said.

“Here we have a wonderful example of the priesthood; the bringing together of all into the saving mystery of the death and resurrection of Christ.”



Show comments Hide comments
Will my comment be published? Read the guidelines.

More Vocations stories

Loading next article