A Mass to honour the 100th birthday of Willetton parishioner and regular Mass attendee Ted O’Callaghan was celebrated last month in an event that showed just how treasured Mr Callaghan is within his community.
Celebrated by parish priest of St John and St Paul, Father Thai Vu, the Mass took place on Sunday, 17 July and was followed by a morning tea attended by family, friends and parishioners.
The first born of Irish immigrants Danny and Lizzie O’Callaghan, Mr O’Callaghan was born on 20 July 1916 in Narrogin, Western Australia. The family subsequently grew to nine with the birth of a brother and five sisters.
Mr O’Callaghan went to school in Kulin, where he excelled, and subsequently went to boarding school at St Ildephonsus, New Norcia. The Great Depression impacted on Mr Callaghan’s ongoing education and, having to seek employment, he was fortunate to be offered a job opportunity with the Western Australian Government Railways where he remained until his retirement.
Mr O’Callaghan met his wife, Kathleen Dearle, in Beverley when he was 18 and was married to her in 1936. They had a wonderful life together and became involved in community life wherever they lived.
Sport was always a major part of Mr Callaghan’s life. He was involved in cycling, wood chopping and rifle shooting. Mr O’Callaghan was also fond of Australian Rules football and, after a transfer to Perth in the mid-1950s, he became involved with the Perth Football Club where he was Head Trainer for 16 years.
On retirement, Mr O’Callaghan and his wife, Kath, enjoyed travelling. They loved the Australian bush and had many enjoyable trips around Australia with friends. Unfortunately, Kath passed away 24 years ago, on 15 June 1992.
Mr O’Callaghan has two daughters, two sons-in-law, one granddaughter, four grandsons and three great granddaughters.
His Catholic faith remains with him and has been borne out in his life as he worked with and for the many communities he has encountered in his 100 years. Today, Mr O’Callaghan lives independently at Lakeside Retirement Village, Bibra Lake.
Speaking to The eRecord, Catholic Outreach Officer Betty Thompson stated that it was a privilege for her to be part of such a special event in Mr O’Callaghan’s life.
“It’s not every day that we encounter a lovely gentleman who is celebrating his 100th birthday and who remarkably still attends Sunday Mass with the assistance of the generous John Paul Care volunteers from the Willetton parish of Sts John and Paul.
“I was privileged to become acquainted with Ted O’Callaghan in 2004 through the John Paul Care Bereavement Support Group when he came along to assist us in our work with the bereaved. He himself was bereaved in 1992 when his beloved wife and ‘life support’, Kath, sadly passed away.”
John Paul Care comes under the umbrella of Archdiocesan agency Catholic Outreach and is one of the care programs working in the Perth Archdiocese that offers, through its volunteers, practical short-term emergency care to those in need.
by The Record