‘Wonderful and wise’: Beloved former Gympie priest dies
THE St Patrick’s Catholic Church community and wider Gympie region is mourning the loss of former parish priest Father Joe McGeehan, who passed away yesterday afternoon.
Father Adrian Farrelly shared the news yesterday afternoon, paying tribute to a “wonderful and wise priest and person” over 15 years as parish priest between August 1992 and August 2007.
“Fr Joe McGeehan died this afternoon at 2.45pm. He was parish priest at St Pats from August 1992 to August 2007. Loved by many and one who loved many, he will be welcomed home by the Lord. We shall offer mass for him tomorrow at 5.30pm,” Fr Adrian wrote.
“A wonderful and wise priest and person and a great gift to all who met him. May he be sharing in the fullness of God’s love.”
Further tributes came flooding in from the Gympie region community, reflecting a love for Fr Joe that stretched across all denominations.
Margy Green: A beautiful and kind soul. Father Joe, you were my favourite – such a gift to everyone who knew him. Rest in eternal peace.
Coral Tebbutt: Fr. Joe was truly a wonderful and supportive person to work for as well as a great friend to all our family. Rest in peace Fr Joe.
Maree Stallan: Rest in Peace Fr Joe you were a wonderful support to our family in so many ways.
Michelle McClafferty: What a gift Fr. Joe was to this world and we are all better for having known his presence in it. Heaven gained another angel and the Earth lost a treasure today. Rest in peace Fr. Joe.
Terri-Trevor Bartholomew: RIP beautiful man. We were blessed to have known you.
A Gympie Times article in August 2007 recalled “quite a flock” of people coming in droves to farewell Fr Joe at his final St Patrick’s service.
“Everyone, it seemed wanted to say thank you to Father Joe McGeehan, a man whose compassion and pastoral care reached beyond denominations, beyond social standing, in fact beyond all petty divisions,” the article read.
At the time parishioner Patrick Carroll said Father Joe was always ready to help wherever it was needed.
“He’s a man with a deep love for his flock,” Mr Carroll said.
“He gives himself completely to his work and his people wherever you go you find people who know and love him.”
Former mayor Mick Venardos called Fr Joe “a great friend to all the people of Cooloola” and St Patrick’s College Principal David Cuskelly said “you cannot find a trace of hypocrisy in the way he lives his life. He genuinely respects others”.
Fr Joe reflected that his time in Gympie was the longest period of time he had lived anywhere.
“I am very attached to so many people here throughout the parish and the schools of course, but also to many others in the wider Gympie community and throughout the whole district. I’ll miss so many people,” Fr Joe said at the time.
The article ended by saying “we are all much richer for having known him”.
That statement rings just as true today.
A mass for Fr Joe will be held at 5:30pm today.