Mr. Tony Farley
Tony Farley, Executive Director of Sydney Catholic Schools is one of Fr John Langtry’s former parishioners and friends. Below is a testimony of the impact that Fr John Langtry, a retired priest, has made on his life.
I’ve known Fr John all my life and I’ve never known a time when he wasn’t around. Growing up he would come and spend time with our family. There would be an enormous amount of laughter when he’d come and he’d bring an energy to the house that was really special. It wasn’t just that he was a friend, but it was really important that he was also a priest, and a priest that was one of us.
He’s a great storyteller and he’d often tell us stories from the heart, about the heart. We’d hear about how he’d see the face of Christ in the people that he’d met and especially in others that we wouldn’t expect. Even when he was in New Guinea he’d still be a part of our family gatherings. Our family slide nights would often be interrupted by Dad showing us photos of young Fr John in a canoe paddling with others. These were exciting for a few reasons, but the biggest one for me was being reminded of what it means to be a missionary — leaving the comfort of home and going to another place to serve others.
Another part of his ministry which gave me an insight into what priests can be and are was during his time in Bonnyrigg Heights. He built the parish from the ground up starting in a paddock. To start a community from the beginning and to have the vision and trust in God to be a part of that growing around you has been particularly inspiring for me.
There’s a lot to be said about working with people and alongside people, and to try as much as you can to approach the work with a degree of humility and understanding. It’s only through working with other people that you can make a difference. This is something that Fr John embodied.
Over the past 10 years Fr John has had a lot of difficulties with his health. It’s been tough. He’s been carrying quite a few crosses in this time. In watching Fr John navigating through the difficulties of ill health and ageing, and doing it with such dignity and getting out there despite all of those challenges, he has been actually extraordinarily inspirational to me. He is a strong example of what it means to give and love unconditionally.
Like Fr John, we too can give and love unconditionally. If there’s a priest in your life that has been important to you and you can contact or visit them, I think you should do it. You’ll be amazed by how welcomed you will be and how important this is for our Priests. Another way we can do this, particularly for our retired priests, is through giving financially. Our priests are not paid a lot of money at all. If we can give back through the Priests’ Retirement Foundation, we can very practically help our retired Priests that live very modestly and have few needs, with contributions to the foundation.
To learn more about Fr John Langtry you can read interview with him by clicking the link below: