July 24, 2017
“Thank you for being a part of my life and for being an important part of my journey.”
With these words, Catholic priest Fr Pat Cassidy saluted the packed congregation at Our Lady Help Of Christians parish church, Nanango, early this month.
The worshippers had turned up to help Fr Pat celebrate the 50th anniversary of his ordination, which, unusually, had occurred at Nanango rather than in a big city cathedral.
Back in 1967, it seemed fitting for the young Pat Cassidy to be ordained in Nanango, as he was a Nanango lad through and through.
Nanango historian and OLHC parishioner Liz Caffery has researched Fr Cassidy’s background for her upcoming history of the parish, “Little Cathedral In The Bush”, which will be published in time for the OLHC Centenary later this year.
Fr Pat’s parents, Joe and Molly Cassidy, bought a farm at Neumgna, near Nanango, in 1941. Pat, the second of their 10 children, was 11 months old at the time.
Pat attended Meandu Creek School and helped his parents on the farm.
He recalls: “We used a wood stove for cooking and kerosene lamps for light. The cows were milked by hand. In the early 1950s my father bought a kerosene engine to generate power stored in 12v batteries. The main power line did not come through for many years.”
It is ironic to think that the farm later became the site for Tarong Power Station.
Fr Pat was ordained on July 1, 1967, by Archbishop Patrick O’Donnell. More than 500 people attended the ceremony, including 45 priests, 25 nuns and three Christian Brothers, as well as relatives and friends from across Queensland.
Later Fr Pat served as administrator of the Kingaroy and Nanango parishes, before transferring to Gympie where he is Dean of the North Country Deanery.