Lismore priests and faithful have farewelled diocesan priest Fr James Reilly who died on 4 September after a long illness. He was 73.
Fr James was born in Bathurst on 15 April, 1942.
He was ordained in Rome on 4 May, 1969, at the age of 27.
Fr James was appointed to the parish of Coffs Harbour and later Kempsey parish (now Macleay Valley parish).
He was a priest in five other parishes before arriving in Bellingen in 2002 where he spent the past 13 years as parish priest.
Fr James was a down-to-earth priest with a quick wit and a refreshing, no-nonsense attitude.
He was loved by many.
Past and present Bishops of Lismore and more than 20 clergy joined the priest’s family and friends at his funeral on 10 September.
Bishop John Satterthwaite, Bishop Emeritus of Lismore and long-time friend of Fr James, was principal celebrant.
In his homily, Bishop Satterthwaite said “the priest has been called an ‘alter Christus’. This comes from the Latin word ‘alter’ meaning ‘the other of two’”.
“He is not an other Christ. He is the other Christ so when he consecrates the Host at Mass he says, ‘This is my body’. When he forgives people in the Sacrament of Penance he says, ‘I forgive you, your sins’.
“However in day to day life it can be very hum drum, even monotonous and never the less simply by trying to be like Christ, to imitate him, be kind to people is a great work and Fr Jim Reilly certainly exemplified a true priest who is the other Christ among his people.”
The funeral was in keeping with Fr Jim’s easygoing style. His siblings delivered the eulogy, and members of the Bellingen parish and schools provided the music.