Fr Joseph Carroll CSsR, the former head of the Redemptorist congregation in North Perth, celebrated his 50th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood in the best way possible, last week, surrounded by family and friends.
More than 135 people turned out for a special celebratory Mass and subsequent dinner on January 24, with celebrations bordering on moderately raucous, as singing and nostalgia ensued throughout the long and happy evening.
The homilist was Notre Dame Fremantle lecturer Fr Peter Black who first met Fr Carroll in 1971, when Fr Carroll was the Redemptorist vocations director.
“May St Alphonsus continue to be your inspiration and the Mother of Perpetual Help your protector in your years ahead as a priest of Jesus Christ,” Fr Black said at the end of his homily.
“We pray that you will continue to radiate the message that in Him, in Christ, is to be found the abundance of redemption.”
Lead acolyte and a close friend of the priest, Richard Van Leeuwen, who donated a generously proportioned cake for the occasion, said Fr Carroll was a much-loved priest.
Mr Van Leeuwen and two other close, mutual friends used to catch up over lunch once a month when Fr Carroll was stationed in Perth.
“He is a laugh a minute, and a lot of the jokes he tells, I don’t know where they come from,” Mr Van Leeuwen told The Record.
“He’s a very, very much loved priest, and very humble.”
Fr Peter Black said it was fitting to acknowledge the ‘hundreds of years’ the Carroll family had given in service to the Church, with many of Fr Carroll’s male and female siblings devoting themselves to priestly and Religious ministry.
Leading revellers through a PowerPoint presentation of “Fr Joe’s journey”, Fr Carroll’s sister, Sr Kate, revealed that the members of their large family had only been able to come together on two occasions, in 1954 and 1962, “because someone was always off at a seminary, convent or college”.
The 50th anniversary celebrations also featured musical performances from Redemptorist seminarians from Indonesia and Nigeria.
“I look around and I see old friends,” Fr Carroll said.
“You’ve always been friends, since I’ve known you, and we will always be friends as we walk the way of life together, in friendship and love.”