Requiescat in Pace Fr Barry Swift

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    William-Adolphe Bouguereau: Soul Carried to Heaven (c.1878) Public Domain

    Over 50 years as a priest

    One-time seminary lecturer Fr Barry Swift, who had spent over 50 years as a priest across the Archdiocese of Sydney, has died at the age of 86.

    Ordained a priest at St Mary’s Cathedral on 22 July 1967, Fr Barry served as an Assistant Priest in the parishes of East Granville (1968-70), St Mary’s Cathedral (1970-72), and Manly (1972-73) and then took extended leave to care for his aged mother.

    Born in Goulburn, in 1934, Fr Swift attended Waverley College in Sydney and graduated in 1950 where he was described in the school magazine, The Waverlian as “a cheerful, agreeable, dependable character.”

    “a cheerful, agreeable, dependable character”

    Fr Swift subsequently travelled to Canada in 1956 where he became the youngest executive ever on the staff of McConnell-Eastman- one of Canada’s largest advertising networks at the time.

    He made history as the first priest to join the [Cathedral] choir

    He also travelled extensively throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

    Returning to Sydney Fr Swift joined the newly formed choir at St Mary’s Cathedral – reflecting a passion for liturgical music that was a hallmark of his life. He made history as the first priest to join the choir.

    St Mary’s Cathedral Choir at a function (pre-COVID-19). Fr Swift helped in the establishment of the current Cathedral choir and was the first priestly member PHOTO: Archdiocese of Sydney

    In 1960, Fr Swift began his studies for the priesthood at St Columba’s College, Springwood and St Patrick’s College, Manly where he completed a Bachelor of Theology in 1965.

    Fr Swift made a great contribution to the church through his love of music and singing

    In 1994 he was appointed Administrator of Randwick North parish and during this time served as a Member of the Council of Priests.  Fr Swift made a great contribution to the church through his love of music and singing.

    At the time of his death, he had been retired for a number of years living privately in a home in Darlinghurst.

    Fr Don Richardson, Dean of Saint Mary’s Cathedral parish which covers the Darlinghurst area spoke of his passing.

    Fr Swift both studied and taught at the former seminary of St Patrick’s in Manly now the International College of Management. The property is owned by Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney. The property was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 21 January 2011 Public Domain

    “He was a dedicated priest at Randwick North for many years and he had a great interest in Church music,” said Fr Don.

    In 2017 Fr Swift celebrated 50 years as a priest.

    In addition to his ministerial roles, Fr Swift was a contributor to The Swag, the Quarterly magazine of the National Council of Priests of Australia. From 1995-2000, he was NSW Councillor for the Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy.

    He held a Licentiate in Sacred Theology and was formerly a lecturer in homiletics at the former seminary, St Patrick’s College in Manly.