Youth Header
Sunday, May 27, 2018

Get Adobe Flash player

Fr Clarke Diamond Jubilee

A true diamond...Fr Michael Clarke OMI


From left: Australian Provincial Fr Harry Dyer OMI, Fr Michael Clarke OMI, Camberwell Superior Fr Vincent Ryan OMI

August 24 marks the Diamond Jubilee of priesthood for Oblate priest, Fr Michael Clarke OMI. Born in in Ardee, Co. Louth, Ireland on June 3, 1928 and educated locally at De La Salle College, Fr Clarke entered the Oblate Fathers Juniorate at Belcamp College in Dublin for his final two years of secondary education.

Fr Michael joined the Oblate Novitiate where he pronounced his first vows as an Oblate on September 29, 1946 at Cahermoyle, Limerick. His priestly studies were undertaken firstly in Dublin where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from Dublin University. He then moved to Piltown, Co. Kilkenny for his theological studies. He was ordained at Piltown on August 24, 1952.

After completion of his studies, Fr Michael was appointed to the Oblate Mission of Australia. He began his ministry in the parish of Fremantle in Western Australia. For the last 60 years, Fr Michael has worked in most of the Oblate parishes in Australia and New Zealand. New South Wales is the only state he has not ministered in.

For a few years Fr Michael was called on to undertake studies for a Diploma of Education and also to teach briefly in the early days of Iona College in Queensland. He was also Director of the Missionary Associates of Mary Immaculate (MAMI) as well as Director of the Oblate Juniorate in Geelong, Victoria.

Fr Michael’s years in parishes have been noted for his dedication to parish visitations. With parish census book in hand he covered the parish systematically, street by street, house by house. He knocked on each door introducing himself as the local Catholic priest, rarely was he given a poor reception, his cheerful disposition was received pleasantly.

Charismatic prayer has been an important part of his personal prayer and parish ministry – it helped him to deepen his faith and led to his often spoken advice given personally or in a homily with eyes and arms raised to the heavens, “Leave the worry to the management!”

During the years I spent with Fr Michael in the Tea Tree Gully parish, I learnt much, including the effect that the words of the Scriptures had on children – especially when they were spoken through his hand-held effigy of Donald Duck!

Since 2002, Fr Michael has lived in retirement at Provincial House in Camberwell, Victoria, where he always has a welcoming smile for Oblates passing through. He still has the energy and interest to attend a prayer meeting, a luncheon and play a game of scrabble each week.

We, his Oblate confreres and friends will celebrate his 60 years of priesthood in August even though Fr Michael will be embarrassed and protest! However, we want to assure him that we are proud of him as a priest and confrere and we treasure his life-long and successful ministry.

Thank you Fr Michael for your years of ministry and for your prayerful presence among us. May the Lord and Mary as well as St Eugene de Mazenod continue to strengthen you and allow you to continue your priestly ministry of prayer, witness and encouragement.

Fr Donald Hughes OMI


Copyright 2014 OMI Australia