TO THE MEMORY OF JOE, SEAN, JOHN AND TERRY
Four Old Paradians - two much-respected members of the clergy and two extremely gifted sportsmen – were lost in the lead-up to Christmas and through the 2017 New Year period.
The association acknowledges the recent passing of Fr. Joe McMahon (1954) and Fr. Sean O’Connell (1957), along with Terrence Gannon (1961) and John Coghlan (1964), and expresses its gratitude to those authors who have permitted the use of their work in paying tribute.
Fr. Joe McMahon
Fr Joe McMahon, who died on January 20 in St Vincent’s Private Hospital at the age of 80, spent his childhood years in Coburg and later Richmond. A final year student of Parade in 1954, Fr Joe’s older brother Kevin (1949) and Kevin’s sons Anthony (1977), Philip (1980) and Peter (1981) are also Old Paradians.
In an interview with Debbie Warrier for The Record in Perth, Fr Joe revealed that he had decided to become a priest in 1953, as he neared the end of his time at College.
“I had visited a student priest at a seminary. Coming home on the bus, I was overcome with a joyous feeling that this is what I have always wanted to do with my life. When I finally told my family they were delighted,” Fr Joe said.
“Previously, I had been a lazy student, more interested in sport than study. Having discerned my vocation, I applied myself well enough to matriculate (Year 12).”
In the interview, Father Joe also revealed his trepidation in accepting his first parish appointment in the hills close to Melbourne.
“I lived in a bungalow at the back of the Presbytery. I was so happy there that I thought I could live in that little room for the rest of my life. The truth was that I was scared. The thought of preaching before crowds of people was daunting. The fear that I might find celibacy too hard made me feel safe in my little cell ‘far from the madding crowd'.”
In reflecting on his years in the priesthood, Fr Joe told the reporter: “I have needed my faith and prayer just to keep me grounded (and) have never taken my life or faith for granted”.
“I remember that day in the Spring of 1953. Now in the Autumn of my life, it has been a great grace for me to have lived my life as a Catholic priest,” Fr Joe said.
“And for what lies ahead, I will trust in the Providence of God. I have taken the road less travelled, but for me there was no other way to go.”
In the following obituary for the 80 year-old Fr Joe, which appeared at melbourne.catholic.org.au, Monsignor Greg Bennet, Vicar General, paid tribute to a man he described as “a devoted shepherd”.
Fr Joe was ordained a priest at St Patrick’s Cathedral, East Melbourne on 21 July 1962. After a temporary appointment at Belgrave, Fr Joe was appointed Assistant Priest at the parishes of Fawkner and North Melbourne and then served in the youth division of the Social Welfare Department. Fr Joe served as the Acting Prison Chaplain [at Pentridge following the death of Fr John Brosnan] and in many other roles, including that of Vice-Rector, at Corpus Christi College Seminary between the years 1976-1989. From 1989 he served as Parish Priest at Newport and then, in addition, Spotswood, from 2000. Fr Joe was appointed Pastor Emeritus in 2015, commencing as Senior Priest in Residence at Corpus Christi College, Carlton.
Fr Joe will be remembered for his extraordinary service to the Archdiocese of Melbourne and beyond. He truly lived the Beatitudes throughout his ministry; to the sick, sorrowful, to those in prison, in support of those who were merciful to the vulnerable, he was compassionate, empathetic and above all a man whose life reflected a deep friendship with Jesus.
He was a devoted shepherd to his parishioners at Sacred Heart and St Margaret Mary’s encouraging the gifts of others. His life was centred on the Eucharist, it was the source and summit of his life as a priest. In recent days, his nephew Fr Joe Caddy  and he were able to celebrate Mass together mindful of the presence of Christ in this time and eternity.
Fr Joe’s life intersected with Corpus Christi College at Werribee and Glen Waverley (student), Clayton (Vice-Rector-Formator) and more recently at Carlton (Senior Priest in Residence). He had a profound influence on generations of students. He could recognise genuine goodness and he also could see deeply into the frailty of men. He never wished to offend, but desired to allow students to grow in their personal integrity, in their faith and in their service of the Church. He could pose the difficult question, identify a potential problem and create a rapport where trust could lead to truth. To his many priest, religious and lay colleagues he will be remembered for his care, insight, prayerfulness and dedicated presence.
Fr Joe was humble and down to earth. He loved people and wanted them to grow and flourish. He was a man of prayer, deeply aware of his own humanity, attentive to the movement of God and open to manifestations of grace. In 2016 his collection of spiritual writings, Of Those I met along the way and other reflections, Fr Joe describes with wonderful insight the many and varied people who have inspired him throughout his life; family, friends, priests, pastoral associates, parishioners, witnesses of love and public figures who in many and varied ways have been a revelation of the beauty of God. It seems his years of illness and treatment provided another lens for him to see the image and face of God. The collection reflects a man who understood his life as blessed, enriched by others and who was able to articulate his spirituality as a Diocesan priest founded in his love for Melbourne and the marvellous people of God.
Fr Joe was a voracious reader of theology, psychology and spirituality. He always had a book on hand, often with his musings in the margins and his slips of paper recording insights. For his personal simplicity of life he had an attentive eye for beauty in word, image, art, film and poetry. He had no pretention, but was able to honour the ability of others.
Throughout these years of illness Fr Joe has been accompanied by his loving siblings and their families, deep and personal friendships and the prayerful love of so many. He was grateful for the care of his treating specialists, doctors and staff at St Vincent’s Health and his respite stay at Justin Villa. Fr Joe was never afraid to share his fears, questions and his life with others. His loss of independence and the struggles of sickness were a heavy burden for him. He learned to allow others to carry him and to care for him. Even in hospital he never turned anyone away, but made them welcome at his bedside. Fr Joe loved to pray and he humbly sought God’s blessing from everyone.
The Archdiocese of Melbourne will mourn his loss, together with our friends across the Province and in Hobart. Fr Joe’s suffering is over and we pray that he will enjoy the eternal reward of a life well lived, loved and given in service of The Lord.
May he rest in peace and rise in glory.
John Coghlan, a member of the Old Paradians’ A Section Premiership teams of 1966, ’67 and ’68, and a two-game senior footballer for South Melbourne the following year, died in Shepparton on November 21, just six days short of his 70th birthday.
News of John’s passing was conveyed by Eddie Murphy, an old schoolmate of John’s from the class of ’64 who, like John, rose to League ranks. Eddie in fact managed 17 senior appearances for Richmond between 1968 and ’69, having debuted in the same game as Rex Hunt.
The following tribute to John Coghlan, penned by Shepparton News reporter Declan Martin, appeared in that newspaper on Saturday, November 26;
Tribute to footy icon
Shepparton man John Coghlan will be remembered for his huge contribution to football and education but more importantly as a man of compassion.
‘‘Family and people were attracted to Dad and we love him for that. He kept in contact with all family and friends and attempted to make everyone feel special and important,’’ daughter Natalie said.
‘‘That was a special trait. He leaves big shoes to fill.’’
John died in his sleep at his home on Monday after a battle with an aggressive skin cancer — he died just short of turning 70 on Sunday.
He was born in Port Melbourne in 1946, and it’s in the working suburb where he met the love of his life Frances who stayed by his side for 52 years.
They started a family in Wonthaggi and then moved to Warragul before finding their home in Shepparton.
In Shepparton he was best known for his association with the Shepparton/Lemnos Swans Football Netball Club and the Goulburn Valley Football League and as a senior manager at Goulburn Ovens Institute of Tafe.
He was a talented footballer playing two games for South Melbourne and notably played alongside Brownlow Medallist Peter Bedford.
‘‘He would often joke he taught Peter Bedford everything he knew,’’ Frances said.
‘‘When we settled in Shepparton in the 1980s he said the team he would join had to be red and white and be the underdog.’’
John is a life member of the Shepparton Swans and he has held every administration position possible there and was involved in coaching the junior teams. He saw all his sons play for the club.
He was a part of the Goulburn Murray Football League board for many years and was the president in 2008 where he managed to return the association into a good financial position.
His passion for local football saw him become a regular contributor to GV Weekender writing countless articles for the publication. John was a keen historian and did a history of the Wonthaggi State Coal Mine and has compiled a detailed history of the Lemnos/ Shepparton Swans Football Club.
Fellow educator at GoTafe Jim Pascal said John was instrumental in ensuring high quality Tafe education was available not just in Shepparton but the Goulburn Valley.
‘‘He was there from the start when it was known E.T Jackson College of TAFE and saw it through its many transformations,’’ Mr Pascal said.
‘‘John was highly respected by all staff and had a knockabout type of personality. He was a man of great integrity and vision, he was very much a relationship person.
‘‘The term mateship is widely used but when it comes to John Coghlan he was the epitomised it — a loveable larrikin he had a big stature but also a big heart.’’
Fellow Shepparton Swans life member Geoff Cobbledick said his managerial skills and ability to form relationships made him a valuable member of the community.
‘‘His leadership skills that saw him gravitate to those kind of positions,’’ he said.
‘‘He was working for Swans till the very end the club won’t ever replace him.’’
John was also known for his role in starting Shepparton’s Ethnic Council and teaching English classes for migrants.
He is survived by wife Frances and children Natalie, Derek, Jason, Sharon, Adam and 15 grandchildren.
News of the passing of Terrence Gannon at the age of 73 was conveyed to the Old Paradians’ Association by one of his old College contemporaries Patrick Whitehouse. Patrick advised that Terry died on January 2 after a long illness and prepared the following words of acknowledgment;
Terry was a student at Parade from 1957 to 1960. A capable student he completed the leaving certificate in 1960.
He was a sporting icon who gave outstanding service to the College in representative activities, especially football and cricket. In his final year he shared the best and fairest award for the 1st XVIII and the batting award for the 1st XI, which was undefeated in the ACS competition. In one match he was not out 107 - an outstanding performance which resulted in the school presenting him with the bat he used. In his time at Parade he won three batting awards, two football awards and 5 handball trophies.
On leaving Parade and despite my efforts to get him to join the Old Paradians he had a run with Collingwood and was appointed captain of the under 19s. He continued his cricket career with the Northcote Cricket Club playing at all levels and ended up being involved in coaching. Terry leaves behind his wife Jeanette and children Ashleigh and Jenelle.
Amongst those who placing notices for Terry were members of the board, past players and supporters of Northcote for which he had such an affinity.
Four years ago, following the untimely passing of another Old Paradian and former Northcote cricketer Gerard Frost, Terry went to the trouble of submitting his list of those from the College to have represented the Victorian Premier Cricket club.
Terry identified no fewer than 28 Northcote cricketers known to have originally hailed from the College – amongst them Adam Dale and Mick Lewis who represented Australia at Test and One-Day level respectively, and Gerard Dowling and Travis Gloury, both members of Northcote’s Team of the Century.
Also included is the late Dom Manarin, the Parade College captain, 1st XI captain and 1st XVIII captain in the Olympic year of 1956. Dom’s school blazer is now on display at the College’s Heritage Centre.
“I have listed the boys that I can remember who played Premier cricket for Northcote,” Terry said at the time. “I’ve also named a 1st XI and it’s a fair side when you look at it.
“I am surprised at the amount of good players Parade has supplied over the years, and if there’s someone I have missed, which is possibly the case, then I hope they ring in.”
Terry listed his 28 known Northcote players ex-Parade, in alphabetical order, as follows;
Tony Canavan (Parade 1980), Tony Corcoran (1980), Damien Cresp (1972), Adam Dale (1986), Andrew Donohue (1975), Gerard Dowling (1982), Kevin Fitzpatrick (Parade 1964), Gerard Frost (1975), Terry Gannon (1961), Danny Gleeson (1982), Kevin Gleeson (1977), Travis Gloury (1994), Mitch Johnson (2011), Anthony Keays (1978), Martin Legge (1972), Mick Lewis (1991), Peter Luff (1967), Dom Manarin (1956), Brendan McClements (1980), Ben McNiece (final year unknown), Michael Newell (1983), Chris Connor (1962), Tom Ryan (1962), Adam Smith (1993), Darren Spence (1988), Andrew Sturgess (2007), Tony Weston (1984) and Stephen Wilding (1971).
Terry noted that he and Dowling were Northcote Hall of Famers and, along with Travis Gloury and Alan Webb, Life Members of the club. He also noted that he was, together with Dowling and Gloury, a Northcote 1st XI Premiership players, together with Tony Corcoran, Mick Newell, Tom Ryan and Adam Smith.
In closing, Terry named Northcote’s First XI of Old Paradians;
Gerard Dowling (Capt.), Travis Gloury, Tom Ryan, Adam Smith, Tony Corcoran, Terry Gannon, Darren Spence (wicket keeper), Gerard Frost, Adam Dale, Mick Newell and Mick Lewis.
“This is as much as I can find out hope it helps,” Terry wrote back then. “There is always someone I have missed, I hope they ring in. I am surprised at the amount of good players Parade has supplied over the years.”
Fr Sean O’Connell
Fr Sean O’Connell died in the Austin Hospital at the age of 76 a week before Christmas - Sunday, December 18, 2016. He had been raised as a child not far away, in the northern suburb of Thornbury.
Fr Sean was an old boy of St Coleman’s educated by Brother Bowler. At Parade he was clearly well-respected. Named captain of Hughes House, he was also elevated to Parade’s Prefects’ Council, which included Brian Beers, Dennis Green, the captain George Hogg, Paul Power and Denis Stephenson.
A member of the cadet unit and the controlling body of the “Bluestone Pile” students’ journal, Fr Sean also earned a scholastic award for Greek history in his ’57 matriculation year. Regrettably a broken leg cost him his place in the College’s all-conquering 1st XVIII - ACC Premiers under Brian Beers’ captaincy.
A comment by his name in the 1957 Valete section of The Paradian prophetically read: “Sean O’Connell is seeing life from another and broader angle – as a working man. Sean still has big plans, however”.
On July 23, 1966, Sean and fellow former students Adrian Jones (Fr Adrian, Ord. Carm.) and Brian Mayhew were ordained by another Old Paradian His Lordship Bishop Fox at St Patrick’s Cathedral.
Fr Sean served as Assistant Priest at the parishes of Flemington, Werribee and Clifton Hill. He was appointed Parish Priest of St Paul’s Coburg in 1979, preceded by four years as an Assistant Priest - a total of nearly 42 years at the parish.
During this time, Fr Sean was Director of Australian Catholic Relief and was also Acting Director of Catholic Immigration.
In 2008, Fr Sean and his parishioners were left to deal with an arson attack at St Paul’s, which caused $2million damage to the church some 12 months after another fire destroyed the parish’s community centre.
Three years later, following the church’s restoration, Archbishop Denis Hart acknowledged Father Sean in celebrating a mass for the consecration of the building.
“The tragic fire three years ago has given birth to a wonderful restoration of Saint Paul’s church. This parish was one of the first six parishes in Victoria. For a time in the 1850s Mary MacKillop and Ned Kelly belonged to the parish,” Archbishop Hart said at the time.
“I am sure that the original architect, Samuel Jackson who worked on this church in 1850, or Monsignor O’Hea who came here as a young Augustinian in 1853, would be justly proud of what has been achieved by Father O’Connell and his collaborators.”
A notice placed by the Priests’ Retirement Foundation read in part: “Fr O’Connell will be mourned by the people of St Paul's, Coburg for his generous pastoral care and service. May he rest in peace”.
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