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Farewelling Fr Dominic Ceresoli

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Fr Dominic Ceresoli CS
Fr Dominic Ceresoli CS

Fr Dominic Ceresoli CS
Born into life: 25 January, 1937
Ordained priest: 14 March, 1964
Born into eternal life: 20 June, 2016

Fr Dominic Ceresoli, a Scalabrinian priest who lived in Australia for more than 50 years, has died during a visit to his native Italy.

He died on 20 June while visiting family. He was 79.

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The parish of St Therese, Mascot, announced the death of the “former and very well loved parish priest” on 21 June “with a heavy heart and great sadness”.

Fr Dominic lived his vocation as a missionary priest while also fulfilling senior administrative roles.

He was ordained in Italy in 1964 and immediately left for Australia, where he served 52 years in parishes, missions, and agencies from Shepparton to Newcastle, and from Adelaide to Sydney.

Within the Sydney archdiocese, he was parish priest of St Therese’s, Mascot from 2002-2014, episcopal vicar for immigration, a member of the Archdiocesan Trustees and Consultors, a member of the Council of Priests, and director of the Child Care Centres Advisory Committee.

At the 2011 launch of the archdiocese’s updated multicultural policy, Fr Dominic said archdiocesan leaders were aware that there was a story behind each migrant and refugee.

“We know that we are all on a journey,” he said.

“We know that each of us is a pilgrim, not only in a spiritual way … but some of us are physical pilgrims.

“I think the Church in Sydney has realised that diversities in people … are resources to be shared.”

As a follower of Blessed John Baptist Scalabrini, he was also called to offer his services in his own religious congregation.

Fr Dominic was a provincial counsellor, vicar provincial, director of the Scalabrini Mass Media Centre and member of the
provincial finance committee for the Scalabrinian Fathers and Brothers.

As provincial superior from 1979-1985 and 1991-1997, he presided over the process of renewal of the pastoral work of the Scalabrinian Missionaries in Australia.

He oversaw the closure of several missions and parishes, and the opening of a new one in Brisbane, as well as the acceptance of missions for Spanish-speaking, Portuguese-speaking and Filipino migrant communities.

In a 2009 interview with The Catholic Weekly, he praised the contribution migrants had made to Australian society.

“Migration improves people, as history shows. Immigration has a considerable impact on religious identity in Australia.

“The mobility of peoples encourages a new and vaster push towards the unification of all nations.

“In the ancient Babel, pride destroyed the unity of the human family, but the Spirit of Pentecost is at work to gather together into one the scattered children of God.”

Fr Dominic directed the establishment of the Scalabrinian apostolate in Asia, with the opening of seminaries and centres for migrants and seafarers in the Philippines, which led to seminaries and centres for migrants and seafarers in Indonesia and Vietnam, as well as new missions in Taiwan and Japan.

He did all this without abandoning the pastoral care of the Italian community in Australia.

In particular Fr Dominic gave his steady support to the establishment and management of the growing number of Scalabrini Villages and other retirement communities for migrants

In his final years, he served as chaplain for the Scalabrini Village of Drummoyne.
Fr Dominic was farwelled in his native town of Marcheno in the Italian province of Brescia, on 22 June.

Hundreds of mourners packed St Therese’s church in the Sydney parish of Mascot for a memorial Mass on 30 June.

The parish invited past and present parishioners to “join together to say our last goodbyes to this beautiful, humble man” who “will be missed”.

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