Friday, November 4, 2011

He was everybody's "Father Austin"

Today is the tenth anniversary of the death of Father Austin Day. In thanksgiving for this man whose life led so many to the Lord, I share with you the tribute I preached as a sermon at High Mass (at All Saints' Wickham Terrace, Brisbane) on the Sunday after he died.

1926 - 2001

This photo of Father Austin was taken inside St John's Horsham in 1989
by the photographer of the Wimmera Mail-Times.

"God's in his heaven, Austin Day's at Christ Church, and all's right in the world."

So it was said for many years by Australian Anglo-Catholics, indicating the crucial role of both Christ Church St Laurence (set right in the midst of the Diocese of Sydney) and Father Austin Day whose ministry of spiritual direction and encouragement sustained the lives of countless priests and lay people right across Australia and beyond our shores. Father Austin, Rector of Christ Church from 1964 to 1996, died last Monday, following a difficult struggle with motor neuron disease.

I first met Father Austin when I was an impressionable teenager from Sydney's working class western suburbs. It was 1968. He had been at Christ Church less than four years, but was already making his own mark on the parish. The thing that struck me was how very cultured he was, how wide were his interests and reading, and at the same time how much he loved the Lord Jesus in a genuine and unfussy way. Go HERE to continue reading


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