|THE LATE FATHER TIM NORRIS|
P.P. ST.KEVIN's GEEBUNG QLD
Yesterday, one of Brisbane Archdiocese' most faithful Catholic Priests mortal remains were laid to rest.
Father Tim Norris was not a big man, but he was a giant. Devoted to Christ and His Blessed Mother, he was ever faithful to Christ's Church and to his Parish of St. Kevin's at suburban Geebung. Listen to part of his good friend Cardinal George Pell's Homily at the Funeral Mass:
In Father Tim's own words "Christ's loving care for us is called Divine Providence. It watches over even the humblest and most despised creatures on earth. We love and trust Him in joy and in sorrow. When we have disappointments, sorrows, worries and confront tragedies like terrorism or natural disasters like tsunamis, we should not throw our love of God to the winds: it is when we need Him most. He suffered and He understands our suffering."
Father Tim was not a yes man, because in every way he was a loyal son of the Church, who defended the apostolic tradition in its entirety, when some others were tempted to soften up the tougher moral teachings and even pass quickly over some of the less seemly faith teachings of the creed.
For Father Tim Christ was always the unseen head of the Church He founded on the apostles, with Peter as the rock man; not the first among equals. He believed, with the Church, that the Heavenly Father, not flesh and blood, has revealed these foundational truths which have ensured that the Church is (in his words) "shock proof and rock proof" and designed to last until the end of time.
Our deceased parish priest left instructions that we pray for the release of his soul from purgatory and I do so out of obedience. He never made the mistake of believing everyone must be saved because he acknowledged the power of evil and the human capacity to reject the light and to continue rejecting the light. Christ's words do not allow any of us to claim heaven as another human right. The gateway is narrow and we have no assurance all will be chosen. But our good God is all wise, all knowing, as revealed in his compassionate Son who promised heaven that day to the good thief. If Father Norris needs a lot of polishing, heaven help many of the rest of us!
He loved the Mass, exemplifying and preaching that the Eucharist was a communal act of worship, lifting our hearts and minds to God. He valued the new translation of the Roman Missal because it led us more easily to the Transcendent, helping us to silence and prayer.
"When a priest says Mass" he wrote, "he is in union with Christ". "The whole Church on earth, purgatory and heaven is being offered to God the Father, honouring and giving Him glory and asking help for the living and the souls in purgatory." The work of saving souls was a real task for him.
By this stage, I suspect, the late Father Norris would be feeling that I had said enough, perhaps even too much. He knew his people, was shrewd, much more than a simple dove."
Archbishop Mark Coleridge (l) and Cardinal George Pell(Centre)
at yesterday's Funeral.
Cardinal Pell was well familiar with his good friend Father Tim's Parish, being a regular visitor to Bless and Open the rapidly growing buildings, when Father Tim had to find a friendly, faithful face to do the job.
Father Tim, the faithful Priest, had a hard time in false spirit of the Council Brisbane of past years. Heavy pressure to retire could not budge him . He had tenure and would not abandon his parishoners to error whilst he had breath in him.
Dear son of Ireland, you came to this strange land and stood firm for God's Truth against all comers! The Archdiocese is the poorer for losing you. But many will look forward to seeing you in Heaven.
Both Cardinal Pell and the new Archbishop of Brisbane Mark Coleridge were concelebrants at the Mass at Geebung , behind the Altar Rails dear Father Tim had restored a few years ago.What a joy to see the faithful kneeling to receive their Lord and God on the tongue.
To-day the Archdiocese receives Priests not from Ireland, but from Africa, Nigeria to be precise - may they have an easier time than Father Tim found. No doubt they will remain as truly faithful as Father Tim.