A graceful day for His Grace
Obituary: Opened treasures of the Scriptures for many
Fr Maurice O'Connor OSA (1921–2002)
Fr Maurice O’Connor (pictured), member of the Augustinian Order and valued priest in the parish of St Kieran’s, Manly Vale, where he had lived for most of the past 23 years, has died at the age of 81.
He was born in Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland, in 1921 and joined the Augustinians in 1939.
He professed his first vows as a religious the following year and was ordained in Dublin in 1947.
His first appointment was to teach at the order’s school in New Ross, Ireland.
Fr Maurice was asked in 1950 to go to Australia, where he spent the next 20 years in Far North Queensland – in the diocese of Cairns. He served at St Joseph’s, Cairns (1951-1953, 1959) and at Mareeba (1953-1959; 1960-1971). He was parish priest of Mareeba from 1964 to 1971.
Fr Maurice was appointed to the Victorian town of Kyabram, in the Diocese of Sandhurst. in 1971.
In 1979 he was appointed to the parish of Manly Vale in Sydney.
He agreed in 1991 to assist at the developing parish of St Rita’s, Redland Bay (Brisbane), where he stayed until 1994 before returning to Manly Vale where he spent the rest of his life.
The underlying foundation for Fr Maurice’s life as a priest was a deep pastoral concern for people in his care.
He was direct in his approach, with a great sense of humour; his ministry was one of dedicated service. In the latter part of his ministry he drew strength from his involvement in the Charismatic Renewal.
He introduced the Bethel Bible course at Manly Vale and Redland Bay, which opened up the treasures of the Scriptures for many and enabled them to do the same for others.
In 1997, for the 50th anniversary of his ordination, Fr Maurice published Never A Dull Moment, an anecdotal and humorous account of his life as an Augustinian priest in Australia.