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14 March 2013


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I remember Father Clerkin. He was a friend of my maternal grandparents, John & Mary Dowling. He came to visit them in Sunny Isles, Florida (north end of Mia Beach).

He stayed with us at my grandparents house in the late 60's.

I was just mesmerised by him just listening to him talk about New Guinea.....a fantastical place on the other side of the world (maybe this was the foundation for my future parrothead obsession).
My grandparents originally knew him from Long Island, New York. I was an altar boy and like the commenter I got to serve mass for/with Father Mike. He was a very impressive guy.

Fr Raymond Quirk OFM AM MBE (Vale 14 February 1989)

Father Ray Quirk OFM was a humble Franciscan & was the Parish Priest at Vanimo & Army Chaplain in the 1950s for 8 years before being appointed Army Chaplain at Murray Barracks in Port Moresby where he served for some 20 years before returning to Australia and being posted as Priest at Midlands in WA.

He joined the Church as a young man and devoted his life to the wellbeing of his fellow man. He had a multitude of friends, not only in the armed services but the wider Papua New Guinea community.

Father Ray also played a significant role in the development of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force. His leadership, drive, enthusiasm and determination helped in no small way to overcome the many problems that occurred at that time.

The Chapels of the Force are a lasting monument to him. For his great service to the community and the Defence Forces Father Ray was awarded the Australia Medal and was made a Member of the British Empire.

On 17 February 1988, a Solemn Pontifical Concelebrated Mass was offered at St Francis of Assisi Church, Paddington NSW, for the soul of Father Ray Quirk.

The Mass was said by Bishop Brian Barnes of Aitape (ex PNG Police Chaplain ) together with a number of other Bishops and many priests.

The army was well represented, including some four Major-Generals. Also present were many of his friends. The Eulogy was delivered by Major-General Jim Norrie.

I'm amazed no one has answered Laurence Quinlivan's query of 8 March 2013. Fr Ray Quirk OFM was a Franciscan priest.

I remember my parents talking about a Father Clerkin who was a missionary in New Guinea and had been a POW. I think they met him at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, where my father was stationed.

Later (maybe 1955 or 1956) he came to Philadelphia and visited us at our home. He had made arrangements with our pastor to say Mass one day. Since I was an altar boy, I went with him to show him the church and to serve his Mass that morning.

He said Mass on one of the side altars in the lower church of Transfiguration at 55th and Cedar Avenue. I felt honoured to be serving Mass for such a dedicated priest and friend of my parents.

I remember my parents saying that he couldn't wait to get back to his people on New Guinea - what dedication! I don't think we ever saw him again after that. God bless him.

Yes, they were all good and great man! One or two may be bad apples, especially one I know, whose unreligious activities would bring shame to all of them. And he calls himself an SVD priest! I am not speaking here because of a rumour I heard, no, I was a witness and it left me disgusted! However like you said, they were great men, who helped to develop this country! God bless them!

I remember a Fr. Ray Quirk from Vanimo at the end of the 50's who then went to Port Moresby as Army Chaplain to PIR. Do not know if he was SVD?

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