Fr Rom celebrates 50 years of Priesthood

 Fr Rom 40Jubilee Celebration StKilians 24May2021 Portrait“I am very happy to be gathered with lots of old friends in this great old place, St Kilian’s,” said Fr Rom on the day.

Fr Rom was especially pleased the celebration was on Pentecost Sunday. “The best assurance I have of the Spirit moving in our Church today, is the experience of joy and peace in the people of St Kilian’s,” he said.
“For a long time, we took part in our Eucharist via live-streamed Mass, it was a good effort but, for me, the experience of God’s Spirit is clearly evident when we are physically gathered together as a community. It is here the Spirit is evident in our laughter and gentle smiles.”

“It has been the spirit among us that has opened our hearts to Caritas, Missions, Bendigo Winter Night Shelter, St Vincent de Paul and much more,” said Fr Rom.

“18 years ago, I came to St Kilian’s and it is this community that has kept me going. I know you don’t want a list of ‘Thank Yous’, I trust you know how grateful I am to so many of you, but I do want to make mention of the women at St Kilian’s, who have been the backbone of the parish. I learned early on to listen to them and to take their advice, I recognise that they do the work of creating this great community. Nowhere is the Spirt more evident today than in the emergence of women at all levels of Church life.

I would like to give a special word of thanks to the Columban Fathers who enabled me to work for twelve years in Peru. It was a very significant time for me in so many ways. At my farewell in Peru, people prayed that I would catch many fish in the Campaspe River. I report back to them today that the Spirit has not moved the fish towards me.”

Fr Rom was Administrator of St Kilian’s in Bendigo for eighteen years until he retired in January 2019. He was Vicar-General from January 2015 until his retirement and has served the Diocese in the parishes of Heathcote, Shepparton, Sacred Heart Cathedral, Numurkah and Wodonga and Inglewood. He was also Diocesan Director for Caritas and Social justice for many years.

On the occasion of Fr Rom’s retirement, friend and Fellow Priest, Monsignor Peter Jeffreys wrote:

“I suspect I speak for the clergy of the Diocese when I say that we admire the way Fr Rom has lived his Priesthood. He has nourished his spirituality with a careful selection of fine spiritual reading. When you head across to the sacristy with a spring in your step to celebrate Mass we know your congregation will get a brief and nourishing homily couched not in ‘neo-scholastic’ language but in contemporary language that resonates with and nourishes the congregation hungry for the living Word of God. Even though Rom will be out at Axedale on the banks of the Campaspe, we know he will still be well-known and loved in Hargreaves Street, Pall Mall and the broader Sandhurst community.

We thank Rom for his engaging and far-reaching presence amongst the priests and people of the Diocese. As Fr Rom waits for the fish to bite on the banks of the Campaspe, may he have happy and varied memories of his extensive ministry and know that we love you as a friend and brother priest in the Sandhurst Presbyterate.”