Pell acts to resolve Redfern priest crisis

Fr Gerry Prindiville, a member of The Neocatechumenal Way, yesterday celebrated his first mass as parish priest of the high profile and largely indigenous inner Sydney parish priest of Redfern, following Archbishop George Pell’s Friday announcement of his appointment.

Fr Prindiville, an Australian who grew up in Perth, was ordained in 1995 as a diocesan priest of the Archdiocese of Newark, USA. For the past four years Fr Prindiville has been working in the Turks and Caicos Islands in the West Indies. He is on loan to the Archdiocese of Sydney for missionary work.

St Vincent´s has the largest indigenous congregation in the country and a 30-year tradition of Aboriginal activism supported by parish priest of 30 years Fr Ted Kennedy.

The Redfern parish is in disarray after Fr Kennedy’s successor, Fr Peter Carroll, failed to gain the support of influential members of the parish community. Fr Carroll’s Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Provincial removed him after has position was judged to be "intolerable".

In announcing Fr Prindiville’s appointment on Friday, Archbishop Pell said: "As Parish Priest Fr Prindiville will rebuild the local parish community and minister to all the locals, especially the Aboriginal people."

Dr Pell said the new parish priest would be supported by members and seminarians of the Neo-Catechumenal Community, with which he’s been involved since the mid 1980’s.

The Weekend Australian reported on Saturday that members of the community would welcome Fr Prindiville at his first mass, but a spokesman said they were disappointed that repeated requests to be consulted on an appropriate priest were "ignored by the Archdiocese".

The Weekend Australian report portrayed Pell’s appointment as divisive. It quoted the community spokesman’s assessment that "the majority of parishioners regarded the appointment of a The Way minister as Dr Pell’s retribution for their outspokenness".

Catholic Communications (Sydney)/

The Weekend Australian (payment required)
Background (Catholic Communications)
Roman Catholic Mission, Turks and Caicos Islands, British West Indies
Estranged priest removed from Sydney parish (26/5/03)
Message to the St Vincent’s Catholic Parish Community, Redfern (Fr Bob Irwin MSC, Provincial, Missionaries of the Sacred Heart
Congregation rejects priest´s disruption of Aboriginal ministry (19/5/03)
Aboriginal Catholic Ministry, Redfern
Pope´s message of support for Sydney aboriginal medical centre (7/1/02)
Thou shalt not covet: a frail fighter puts his plea to the Pope (SMH 3/12/01)
Australia: Confessions of a dying priest. Our savage moment of truth
Archdiocese of Sydney | St Vincent de Paul Church

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