After almost two decades of serving St Mary’s Cathedral as sacristans, Tom and Angela Mahady retired recently from the behind-the-scenes role.
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB hosted a private farewell morning tea on February 11 for the Kewdale couple, providing clergy members with the opportunity to thank the pair for their work.
The Archbishop himself spoke highly of the Mahadys, thanking them for being an “extraordinary gift to the Archdiocese”.
Archbishop Emeritus Barry Hickey said he had fond memories of working with the Mahadys at the Cathedral.
“Everything was always in place when I would go to the sacristy and when I asked for things, they knew where [they were],” he said. “They were a great team.”
Mgr Thomas McDonald and Mgr Michael Keating also thanked the couple for their dedication and service over many years.
The former described the decision to give the Mahadys the role of sacristans almost two decades ago as “the best thing I ever did”.
Mr Mahady told The Record now was the right time for his retirement, although he said he would greatly miss the role.
“It’s been 18 years and I’m not getting any younger, and I thought maybe I need a break,” he said.
“I’ll miss it, but I’ll find other things to do. I’ve got my garden to look after, and I’ve got my family, and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, so I can keep myself busy.”
Prior to taking on the voluntary role as sacristan, Mr Mahady was an acolyte at St Mary’s for 12 years, and he said he’s witnessed many memorable moments at the Cathedral.
“So many things went on in the Cathedral, there was always something happening,” he reflected.
“We’ve seen a lot of people go through the Cathedral, Archbishop Goody, Archbishop Foley, Bishop Healy and Mgr O’Reilly.”
During their time as sacristans, the Mahadys attended most of the Cathedral’s Sunday Masses, which numbered as many as five at one stage.
“We were there seven days a week mostly, just preparing for Masses, preparing the vestments for priests, getting things ready for the big Masses, and things like that,” Mr Mahady said.
“Sometimes it could get stressful when there were a lot of things on. But it was very enjoyable.”
The duties of Cathedral sacristans are to care for the sacred vessels, vestments, lights, the decoration of the Cathedral for the different seasons and feasts, the preparation of what is necessary for the various ceremonies and the general well being of the sacristy.
Before Mr and Mrs Mahady took on the role in 1995, the Sisters of Mercy had filled the role for 149 years.
One of the Mahady’s six children, Seamus, has followed in his parents’ footsteps in taking on the same role for Perth’s Latin Mass community.
“Seamus is very interested in that sort of thing and he’s very good at it,” his father Tom said.
Having assisted in the Cathedral for almost a decade, the younger Mahady has served as the sacristan for Perth’s Latin Mass community since 2000.