“I thought I was just going to be Dad’s chauffeur…”

“I thought I was just going to be Dad’s chauffeur on the day of the Priests Foundation Thanksgiving Mass at the Cathedral, but it turned into a day of re-connection for us both.

My father, Sir Ron Hickey, who recently turned 94, was determined to travel from the Blackall Range to attend the Mass out of respect for the many priests who had influenced his life.

Dad’s always had a strong faith and says he thanked God every time he returned to base in England safely from 35 bombing raids over enemy-occupied Europe during World War II. He remembers the priests were always present on the airfield before they embarked upon a mission to give the pilots Holy Communion. Dad prayed every day for everyone taking part in the war.

Just this year, Dad met the French ambassador who presented him with a Legion of Honour medal, their country’s highest valour award, for his contribution in “winning France back” from German occupation.

After the war, Dad continued flying as an airline pilot with Trans Australia Airlines. As it happens, a former co-worker from the airline, Mr Colin Ward, also attended the Thanksgiving Mass. The two of them were able to reminisce fifty years on!

The morning tea held more surprises for me. I reconnected with Fr Dan Ryan who married me and my wife Anne 36 years ago at The Church of the Little Flower, Kedron. I also chatted with Fr Luton who baptised my eldest child 35 years ago at St Dympna’s, Aspley.

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Dad catch up with old mates and a number of priests from the past and present. It got me thinking about all the priests who have played integral roles throughout my whole family’s life. I am proud that my father and my late mother Eileen (Pat to her friends) generously supported priests for so many years.”

David Hickey, son of Priests Foundation donor, Sir Ron Hickey.