Funeral Mass of Father Victor Crennan, 1 October
FUNERAL MASS OF FATHER VICTOR CRENNAN CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART
AT IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY CHURCH, EAST HAMPTON, ON TUESDAY, 1ST OCTOBER 2013 AT 11.00 A.M.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today we come to pray for the repose of the soul of Father Vic Crennan, a devoted priest of this Archdiocese for 59 years and pastor here at Immaculate Heart of Mary parish for 32½ years.
Through the ordination and mission which they receive from the bishops, priests serve Christ the teacher, priest and king; they share in his ministry through which the Church is being ceaselessly built up into the people of God. Through priesthood the spiritual sacrifice of the faithful is completed in union with the sacrifice of Christ, the only Mediator, which is offered through the priest’s hands in the name of the whole Church in an unbloody and sacramental manner until the Lord comes. Priests draw force and power from the sacrifice of Christ, for the glory of God and the sanctification of people. Every priest is taken from among men and appointed in the things that pertain to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sin, to live with the rest of men as brothers and sisters.
The call of the priesthood is to be all things to all people, to save all. A true pastor is a man with his people, whose life is intertwined with theirs, whose care is always to bring them to God, to heal and forgive them, to bind up their wounds in times of suffering. Indeed, the Cure of Ars said that “The priest is the love of Jesus Christ in human form.” Today we celebrate the funeral of a generous and faith-filled priest.
Victor Paul Matthew Crennan was born at Footscray on 15th May 1924 and baptised three weeks later at Saint Monica’s Church. Having completed early education at Saint Monica’s, Footscray, he qualified as a fitter and turner. However, when he sensed a vocation to the priesthood, at the recommendation of Father Henry Johnson he was sent back to Saint Patrick’s College, Ballarat, for 1945 and 1946. Monsignor Leo Fiscalini, the College Chaplain, interceded so that he could go to Werribee in 1947, where he remained until his Ordination at the age of 30 on 25th July 1954 by Archbishop Simonds.
His early priestly appointments were a succession of normal, pastoral works until he was appointed Administrator of both Hampton and East Hampton on 30th August 1969, at a time when Father Pat Jeffery was ill at Hampton and Father Fred Nolan was failing at East Hampton. It was on 18th December 1972 that Father Vic began his remarkable pastorate here in Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, which was to last until he became Pastor Emeritus on 6th April 2005; a period of 32½ years.
People knew Father Vic as a devoted Pastor. He loved Our Lady and loved the traditional devotions and theology, rejoiced in the certainties of old times. Early in his pastorate he sought the permission of the Archbishop to establish a Padre Pio prayer group and it is significant that his death occurred on the feast of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina.
Father Vic was gregarious and loved being with people. He had a special affection for oysters and for fish. His first love was cricket. He liked Footscray in the AFL and always wanted them to do well.
His story is one of constant pastoral involvement and devotion to his people. When this lovely church was being built he received a query from the Administrator as to why the cost per square for this church was $200 more than the previous church that had been built. His exceptional devotion to the Sacraments and to the people was shown on one celebrated occasion in 1990 when he was called to a person who had died in suspicious circumstances and waited five hours to be admitted by the authorities to the presence of the body so that he could give holy anointing and show sympathy to the person’s wife.
In later years ill health overtook him. He always maintained a courageous and optimistic spirit. He loved priestly company and ‘get togethers’ and at Justin Villa was appreciated by the other residents for the duplicated Mass Readings which he provided for them each day, the sense of community, the enjoyment of his friends and of a good talk.
Father Vic Crennan was a courageous, generous pastor, who lived for his people, facing with equanimity the challenges of ill health in later years, but tenacious in the care that he gave for his people, his love of Our Lady and his love of people.
May his generous and gregarious soul rest in peace.
+ Denis J. Hart,
ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE.