Fr Brian Yates, a kind man known for his generosity and hospitality towards others, was farewelled from St Mary’s church in North Sydney on 5 July.
The former Spiritual Director at St Patrick’s Seminary in Manly passed away peacefully on 2 July, after 60 years of priesthood, aged 88.
Bishop Tim Harris of the Townsville Diocese presided over the funeral Mass—in accord with Fr Yate’s wishes—with Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP concelebrating.
Numerous bishops and priests were also present as well as Fr Yate’s family and friends.
In his address, Fr Yate’s nephew, Timothy, described him as an “amazing person” and “loving uncle” who “will be sorely missed.”
In his homily, long-time friend Fr John Ford described Fr Yates, who was crippled with Polio at the age for four, as a “truly special person” and said his life was “a true Jesus story.”
He spoke of Fr Yate’s selfless and non-judgemental care for people especially those in need. As a young priest in the Woollahra Parish he began a “life of hospitality,” founding what he called “Number 80,” a place of refuge for people in need.
He was appointed Spiritual Director of St Patrick’s College in Manly in 1970 and his time there was one of “joy, anxiety, affliction and reward,” Fr Ford said.
In 1986 Fr Yates founded the Galilee House of Prayer and Hospitality for Priests in Bondi, where he provided over 15,000 bed nights for clergy or religious experiencing difficulties.
He never asked people what their problems were, he just provided them with hospitality, Fr Ford said, a habit he practised long after his retirement in 2002.
“His reward will be to know the face of God. He’s now with God,” Fr Ford said.