Ronald Hickman - Sydney
9th June 1924 – 7th February 2010
“Hi, I’m Ron.” This was how he greeted anyone new to him. First impressions were of a wise, but simple man. He spoke to the point – a few words. There was nothing put-on or false about him.
He had a deep love for the Church and his priesthood. The Mass was his life’s bread. His commitment was to his people and to his word. Prayer was always a priority and his breviary was always beside him. This said, he was a truly human man who enjoyed life and was available to anyone and everyone who was privileged to know him
Ron organised no less than Fifteen Golden Jubilee Masses, followed by parties, to give everyone who kept in touch with him the opportunity to celebrate with him. He paid for them all!
His ministry was lived out in many parishes.
I first came to know him and to regard him as ‘friend’ in Revesby Parish. It was here that he had the opportunity to widen his involvement with the parishioners by his acceptance of a Parish Team. This made his parish work ‘alive’ with many instances of challenge and invitations to grow.
One Parishioner here expressed his deep love for Ron because Ron understood what it was like to be ‘hard of hearing’. Ron never complained about his own hearing problems and his ability to ‘get the message’ was outstanding.
Ron was involved in the “Together-As-One” Programme for engaged couples. There were many long meetings where married couples told of their own experiences of marriage and worked hard to show the ‘real’ thing to the couples who attended. Fr Ron presented his own sessions along with these couples and humour was always very much a part of his input. Ron always attended the ‘catch-up’ dinners of the original presenting couples and provided the prawns for the entree.
In his later years he was Chaplain at Cardinal Gilroy Village, where he ministered with his usual love of the people.
Mondays were special days because Ron would celebrate Mass with the Josephite sisters at Patterson Place, Croydon. He would then share a home cooked meal and a game of cards with the sisters. The sisters would collect Ron from Merrylands, and he returned home by taxi. He became a special friend of the taxi driver, Albert, who drove him home each week.
Ron was not really a demonstrative person, but could always remember the names and places of people from his ministries. They would be surprised to meet him after many years, and to hear him call them by name and place.
Ron was all set to go to God this Christmas. When I visited him shortly before he died last week he said: “I should have gone last Tuesday, when everyone was here…just think of what it is costing you people to keep me here?”