Nullarbor priest takes care of ‘soul’ parishioner

Fr Harold Camonias (The Catholic Weekly)

From bustling Manila to the quiet Nullarbor Plain, Fr Harold Camonias has found that no journey is too long or difficult when God not only sends and accompanies you but even meets you at the destination. Source: The Catholic Weekly.

Heading off to say Mass, Fr Camonias packs his car with all the necessities including firewood, water, a sleeping bag, tent and camp stove.

After a long and solitary drive (a 500-kilometre round trip), Fr Camonias arrives and unlocks the Church and prepares to celebrate Mass … for one.

Gerry Agnew is the “soul” parishioner in Leigh Creek, a former coal-mining town with a population of around 200. Living on his own, the 60-something-year-old local arrived from Ireland “many, many, years ago” and remembers a time when it was standing room only at Mass.

Fr Camonias is the parish priest of Flinders Ranges, which includes Quorn, Hawker, Carrieton, Leigh Creek and surrounds, in the Port Pirie Diocese, which occupies 980,000 square kilometres, most of the state of South Australia including spiritual Uluru (Ayers Rock).

He believes the region should be known as the “soul” not the centre of Australia, and says his vocation is inspired by Catholics like Gerry who despite receiving the Eucharist only a few times a year has such strong faith.

He said he believes it’s God’s will that he spreads the Good News and leads people into personal encounters and relationships with Christ wherever they are, including Leigh Creek.


Following Christ into the wilderness (By Debbie Cramsie, The Catholic Weekly)

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