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Fr Doug celebrates 60 years of life


Glendalough Parish Priest Father Douglas Harris reunited with his mother Jean and sister Trisha who travelled interstate for the occasion of his 60th birthday at the Glendalough parish on 20 October. Photo: Amanda Murthy.

By Amanda Murthy

Having the faith to trust that God will answer our prayers in ‘His time and at His will’, was a challenge posed by Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB to the congregation of St Bernadette Catholic Church on Sunday 20 October, at a Mass held in conjunction with the 60th birthday of the Glendalough Parish Priest Father Douglas Harris.

The Mass attended by many parishioners was concelebrated by Father Marcellinus Meilak, Fr Maurice Toop and Fr Demetri Roh.

At the conclusion of Mass, a fellowship gathering at the parish hall was set up to continue the celebrations.

Reflecting on the readings of the day, Archbishop Costelloe reminded those present, of the right attitude of mind and heart that should be welcomed in a relationship with the Lord, when approaching prayer.

“We are called to enter into a relationship of love and with trust – These are two things which are meant to characterise our prayer, just as they’re meant to characterize every aspect of our Christian lives,” he stated.


Fr Harris at his ordination into the priesthood in the year 2000. Photo: Supplied.

Archbishop Costelloe explained that God, who in His mercy, never fails to respond to our needs, although not always in the way we image or expect it to be.

“Although not always in the way we want, or according to the timetable that we have decided is the best way to go, God will always respond,” Archbishop Costelloe said.

“There is nothing wrong, and in fact there is everything right to praying to God for what we want. This is exactly what Jesus Himself did in the garden of Gethsemane when He said, ‘Father, if it is possible, please take this cup of suffering away from me.

“Many of us would have prayed a similar kinds of prayer in our lives. This kind of prayer that rises from our hearts and kind of makes clear that in the end we do understand that our life is ultimately in God’s hands is through Christian prayer.

“But, its’ through Christian prayer expressed within that bigger context that God’s will, rather than our own will be done. Sometime they will be the same thing, but not always,” he added.


Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB celebrated Mass at Glendalough Parish on 20 October for the occasion of Father Harris’ 60th birthday. Photo: Amanda Murthy.

Archbishop Costelloe ended his homily, with a prayer that all God’s faithful people will be able to renew their trusting faith in the Lord’s love and care for them.

“My prayer for myself and all of us here today, is that our celebration of the Mass this morning can renew our trusting faith in the Lord’s love and care for us.

“Because it is only this that can ensure that with God’s help we will be people with hope, people with trust, people that in fact never do loose heart when challenges come because we know who it is whom we place our trust in,” Archbishop Costelloe concluded.

Father Harris grew up in New South Wales, attending Catholic schools all his life, however, he only truly began his faith journey in high school.

“It was only in high school that I started attending Mass regularly, and joined the Disciples of Jesus community - Being in an environment with people of faith helped me come to my consciousness to my calling as a priest,” he stated.

“My desire to devote to the Blessed Sacrament played and still plays a huge role in my faith journey.”


Fr Harris in his youth. Photo: Supplied.


Fr Harris (centre) as a child with his family. Photo: Supplied.

When asked about the highlight of his life is, Father Harris gave thanks for his relationship with God.

“My relationship with the Lord is my glory and my life – that is what I am happiest about in my life looking back and being able to share that love of Christ with others, is something that I strive to do,” he said.

“I’m so happy today, to celebrate with mum and my sister, I reunited with my brother recently as well – and now, to celebrate with the Archbishop, my brother priests and the parish community.

“Thank you everyone for your love and support,” he concluded.


Parishioners attended a morning tea gathering after Mass to celebrate the 60th birthday of Father Harris at the Glendalough parish on 20 October. Photo: Amanda Murthy.

Fr Harris’ mother Jean Harris who travelled from New South Wales for the occasion spoke about the son she loves.

“Growing up, Doug was just a regular guy who loved soccer and surfing – the last thing I expected was for him to join the priesthood,” Mrs Jean said.

“But he did with so much of grace and devotion. Today, I’m so proud of my son.

“He is the most humble person I know, very genuine and everybody loves him.

“Wishing him many more years ahead with God’s blessings and may him continue to touch the lives of those around him - Happy Birthday Doug,” she concluded.

Trisha Harris, sister of Father Harris also travelled interstate thanked the parish community for supporting her brother all these years. She said, her favourite trait of Fr Harris is his positive attitude towards life.

“I’ve always known Doug to be a happy person, he’s never sad with anything or anyone. Whenever I call him and ask how he is doing, his response is always ‘I couldn’t be any happier’, so as a sister that is all I could ask for,” she cited.

“He brings me closer to God and to my faith because he is constantly supporting me and to see his dedication to his priestly ministry is always so inspiring,” she concluded.