Former Palmyra Parish Priest Fr Francis Ughanze was given a heart-warming send-off following his retirement.
Parishioners from near and far came together at Our Lady of Fatima Church, Palmyra Parish, Friday 5 May as the choir sang The Power of Your Love as the entrance hymn, marking the beginning of what was a beautiful, spiritual and uplifting celebration for Fr Francis Golden Jubilee.
In celebrating the Mass, Fr Francis was joined by concelebrants, Archbishop Emeritus Barry Hickey, incoming Parish Priest Fr Benedict Lee, Yangebup Parish Priest Fr Peter Bianchini, South Perth Parish Priest Msgr Brian O’Loughlin, East Victoria Parish Priest Fr Nicholas Nweke, Lesmurdie Parish Priest Fr Michael Separovich, Parish Renewal Co-ordinator Fr Nino Vinciguerra and retired clergy Frs Edward Miller, Greg Donovan an Oswald Lewis.
Parishioners young and old, friends and community members gathered for the occasion, in which Fr Francis took all present on a journey centred on God’s love for each of us, and the role of the Priest during his homily.
Fr Francis highlighted that the Catholic priest’s primary function is to show the Catholic people of God that God loves them, also explaining that God does not behave as human beings do.
A human being, explained Fr Francis, can love you today and dislike you tomorrow. God’s love is constant.
“In the scriptures we discover that God is presented as everlastingly kind and loving. God is loving, and has no hate in him,” he said.
“The God of Jesus Christ has no favourites in his loving. He loves everyone equally. He does not love people based on their religious beliefs. The Catholic Christian is as lovable to him as the Anglican Christian or Jehovah witness or a Muslim.
“The love showered by God does not depend on the worship of him. The God of Jesus Christ cannot be like the human being who cannot love us unless we worship him.
“We have all grown up to use the term worship in our relationship to the unknown being we call God.
“If we read the scriptures properly, we would discover that God is not worshipped but imitated.
A heartfelt acknowledgement of Father Francis’s unwavering dedication to his parishioners in their moments of happiness, joy and suffering was articulated beautifully through a powerpoint presentation with photos of Fr Francis’s 23 years as Parish Priest at Palmyra.
A gift from the parish and school community included an icon painted by young artist Yusef Hourani.