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Sudden Death of Reverend Father O'Brien at St. Mary's Cathedral |

Sudden Death of Reverend Father O’Brien at St. Mary’s Cathedral

A sombre air enveloped St. Mary’s Cathedral in Sale on Wednesday evening as the Very Reverend J. O’Brien, the cathedral’s administrator, tragically passed away while overseeing the Holy Week ceremonies.

The scene unfolded during the observance of Tenebrae, with the Most Reverend Dr Phelan, Bishop of the diocese, presiding over the assembly of priests. Approximately thirty minutes into the service, Father O’Brien, fulfilling his role as master of ceremonies, displayed signs of distress while genuflecting. Prompted by concern, fellow priests rushed to his aid and promptly carried him from the sanctuary.

Dr Hagenauer, swiftly summoned, pronounced Father O’Brien’s passing, leaving the congregation unaware of the gravity of the situation until Bishop Phelan returned and delivered the solemn news of the priest’s demise.

Expressing profound sorrow, Bishop Phelan requested the congregation’s prayers for the departed soul before concluding the service. Among the attendees was Reverend T. O’Brien of Umeo, brother to the deceased, while another sibling, Reverend John O’Brien, serves as a parish priest in the archdiocese of Brisbane.

Father O’Brien assumed the role of Cathedral administrator in May of the preceding year, succeeding Father Curran. Known for his gentle demeanour, he had swiftly endeared himself to the parishioners of St. Mary’s. Hailing from County Limerick, Ireland, Father O’Brien was ordained in Maynooth and arrived in Victoria approximately fourteen years prior, serving in Morwell, Omeo, and Leongatha before his tenure in Sale.

The community will bid farewell to Father O’Brien in a funeral procession commencing at eleven o’clock this morning from the Cathedral. Additionally, a special Requiem Mass will be held on Tuesday, the 17th inst., with Reverend Father John O’Brien in attendance to pay tribute to his departed brother.

The untimely demise of Reverend Father O’Brien has left a palpable void in the hearts of those he served, his memory cherished by all who were touched by his ministry.

GIPPLAND MERCURY, APRIL 19TH 1917

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