Michael Hayes - Rockhampton
Fr Michael Hayes was a remarkable pastor. A priest of the Diocese of Rockhampton for 61 years he exercised extraordinary care for everyone. Something of his wonderful ministry is contained in Father Frank Brennan's tribute to Fr Michael (taken from CathNews). This is an excerpt:
"Bishop Brian Heenan, presided once again at the mass of Christian burial. The cathedral was packed to the rafters. Every imaginable group was there, including the Baha’i community whose homes Mick would visit periodically. The leader of the Baha’i community showed me photos to prove it.
"Aborigines enjoyed pride of place in the congregation. There was Phyllis Toby, aged 81, boasting 144 direct descendants and looking so marvellous in her hat. Her late husband Bill had worked along side Mick for years as an Aboriginal pastoral worker.
"John Grace, the Vicar-General, preached. He pointed out that the funeral liturgy had commenced with surfacing symbols expressive of the Christian status which belongs to every baptised person, adding, “All other callings in life build on this solid foundation, neither displacing nor abandoning it.”
"The diversity of the congregation was testament to Mick’s outreach. He always had an eye for those on the edges, but especially for the first Australians. John Grace recalled that Mick, when once asked about his involvement with the Aboriginal struggles, replied: 'I love buckjumping and they excelled in it. We formed a friendship on the rough field of life and have been mates ever since'.
"Mick’s passing marks the end of an era - there will never be another like him. But the congregation left St Joseph’s Cathedral last Monday confident that as God’s people, we can sacramentalise the movements in everyone’s lives, if only we are attentive to those on the edges."
May he rest in peace.