Fr Jim Browne: our “re-treaded” priest

“I’ve always been of the opinion that priests belong to parishes, parishes do not belong to priests. And it’s a very important distinction. We’re there as Jesus said, the Son of Man came to serve, not to be served and give his life as a ransom for many. I think that’s the bottom line when it comes to who we are as servants.

These are the words of Fr Jim Browne, an Archdiocese of Brisbane priest who was ordained in 1965.

His vocation led him to 9 different parishes, some city and some country. Over 37 years there were 27 churches, 10 chapels and 2 Mass stations where he celebrated Mass and led Catholic communities before retiring in 2002 to Macleay Island. When he “retired” he helped the people of Macleay and the Bay Islands build their first church.

In his own words, Fr Jim is not retired, he is “re-treaded”.

As the Chairman of the Priests Foundation, I know many re-treaded priests like Fr Jim, who are deeply committed to the ministry for their lifetime.

During the course of building the new Church Fr Jim had two hips replaced which is where his relationship with the Priests Foundation began. Not long afterwards he faced a knee replacement, spinal surgery and other health problems. As he aged he had heart surgery and a cancerous left lung removed.

Fr Jim found himself heavily reliant on the Priests Foundation for support and calls them “angelic in their care” for him. The Priests Foundation in turn, is heavily reliant on the generosity of local Catholics to help provide funding for this care.

Despite significant health challenges Fr Jim, like most retired priests, continues to work today. He continues to say Mass during the week and on the weekends at Macleay Island Church and at the ecumenical Anglican Hall on Russell Island. He’s also doing baptisms and funerals, quick to serve where needed.

Priests like Fr Jim Browne made a lifelong commitment to serve the needs of the faithful in this Archdiocese when they were ordained. Many, like Fr Jim, never really retire from ministry but there comes a point where age or ill health dictates that they do retire from the parish. That’s where the Priests Foundation comes in.

“I sing their praises with enthusiasm and deep gratitude.” says Fr Jim Browne. “So much so that whatever modest possessions I have will be gifted to the Priests Foundation when I die so that it can help support future priests in need.”

Retired priests like Fr Jim Browne embody the essence of giving and sacrifice. In the same spirit of giving I ask you to please consider making a gift to the Priests Foundation to ensure that these faithful men receive a comfortable and dignified retirement, with modest housing and medical needs provided for.

Many thanks for your generosity.

In Christ,

Rev Kevin Smith PP, Priests Foundation Chairman

P.S. The photo above was taken at our recent Priests Foundation Annual General Meeting. Fr Jim is doing remarkably well after his most recent surgery.


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