Monday, 18 November 2013

Fr Patrick Auger- A reflection

Father Pat served the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes, Kingswood as Parish Priest from 2002 to 2010. During the eight years Father Pat spent as our Parish Priest we were all able to count on the core values he cherished, which made him such a wonderful man and priest. Among all the others, his stand-out qualities were no doubt his sincerity, warm heartedness, unfailing support and his heart full of compassion.

While with us, both of Father Pat’s parents fell seriously ill and indeed he subsequently suffered the loss of both of them within a very short space of time. He would often dash off to the family home in the north of England to help care for them, but always ensured he was back in time to celebrate weekend Mass.

Celebrating Mass was core to Father Pat’s faith and he had a special affinity with those who have preceded us in faith, which he demonstrated by celebrating special Masses for the dead in November and December. Easter embodies the centre of our faith and Father Pat would always dedicate all his energy to the preparation of the Easter Triduum. He wanted us all to share in the glory of the risen Christ and put all his efforts into ensuring we were prepared.

Father Pat did not enjoy the best of health, but he always took his medical concerns in his stride, displaying great resilience and a disarming sense of humour. He made a famous comment when announcing that he was obliged to go into hospital for the eighth time to have yet another operation on his head: “they haven’t found a brain yet, let’s hope they’re lucky this time!”

Father Pat was born on 23rd December 1954 and died on 31st October 2013. He was ordained as a Priest on 26th June 1992. Funeral Mass was held for him at Clifton Cathedral on 15th November 2013, celebrated by Bishop Declan, accompanied by around sixty priests and deacons.

The first reading was from Isaiah 25:6-9 which refers to the Lord removing the mourning veil and the wiping of tears from every cheek. The second reading from Romans 14:7-12 refers to us living and dying for the Lord. The Gospel was taken from St. John, the passage during which Jesus explains: “I am the Way, The Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”

The homily was given by Father Pat’s very good friend, Rev Canon John Cunningham. Their friendship began when they both started training for the priesthood in Rome. Father Pat had obtained a degree in mathematics before entering training for the priesthood.

In the large congregation were many from our parish, reflecting the great love and respect our parishioners had for Father Pat. Also present were parishioners from Cheltenham where he served before he came to us and from Chard, where he went after leaving us. Father Pat accompanied many pilgrims to Lourdes and how pleasing it was to see many of those pilgrims paying their last respects.

Father Pat will be very fondly remembered by so many whose lives he touched. May he rest in peace.

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