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Geoff Joy and Archbishop Francis Carroll (Catholic Voice)

Hundreds of people are expected to pay tribute to the late Archbishop Francis Carroll at a Pontifical Requiem Mass in Canberra today, starting at 11am AEDT. Geoff Joy, a close colleague of “Fr Francis”, reflects on his life and mission. Source: Catholic Voice. 

I first met Archbishop Francis Carroll in 1992 when he chaired the panel who interviewed me (and presumably some others) for the position of director of the Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocesan Catholic Education Office.

It was my good fortune that Fr Francis (as he preferred to be called), rang me early that evening at home in Sydney to offer me the position to start in January 1993.

I had some knowledge of the size and spread of the schools of the archdiocese, however, I had little knowledge of the family life, education and Church “career” of Fr Francis.

Over the next 14 years (we both retired in 2006), I was to rejoice and thank God that our chief pastor was a genuine man of God, of the people and of prayer. He was humble, intelligent, experienced in Church leadership and the operation of Catholic school systems, and dedicated to his “flock”.

No doubt his experience of being a Canon Law doctoral student in Rome during three of the four Sessions of the Second Vatican Council (including meeting Pope John XXIII) helped strengthen his belief that the Church is the People of God on a pilgrim faith journey inspired by the Gospel of Jesus to experience the love of the God of all creation.

Fr Francis preferred consensus in decision-making. He arranged the first Diocesan Synod in Australia in Canberra in 1989 (and again in 2004) to involve priests, religious and laity from across all parishes talking and listening to one another, praying together and planning for the Christ-given mission.

But he did say that in some situations and circumstances the leader responsible may need to make a quick decision with little or no consultation. (Obviously, he had to make many quick decisions in all the Australian Rules football games he played.)

In his Gospel, Matthew records Jesus telling his disciples how they should live: “Just as the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve.” Fr Francis followed this advice of Jesus to the letter.

The Pontifical Requiem Mass for Archbishop Carroll will be live-streamed on the Catholic Voice YouTube page here:


Vale Fr Francis. Former Catholic Education Director Geoff Joy reflects (Catholic Voice