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OBITUARY: Fr Don Hughes OMI to be remembered as a valued priest, educator and formator


Oblate priest Father Don Hughes died on 20 July 2020. Ordained to the Priesthood in 1957, Fr Hughes served the Church in various roles in the Australian states of Western Australia and Victoria. Photo: Supplied.

“We implore your kindness, O God, for your servant and Priest, that, as you made him a steward of your mysteries on earth, so you may bring him to be nourished by their truth and reality as unveiled in heaven.” - Prayer for the Dead, Roman Missal III

Father Donald Oswin Hughes OMI, former Rector of St Charles’ Seminary and founding Rector of Mazenod College, died on 20 July 2020 at the age of 87.

Earlier this year he refused further aggressive treatment for his cancer, which he had battled with for many years.

The Australian Province of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate thanks God for the life of Fr Hughes, honouring their brother-in-Christ who generously responded to the needs of the Province in his 62 years of priestly ministry.


Fr Don Hughes OMI was Rector of St Charles’ Seminary in Guildford from 2004 to 2009. Photo: Supplied.

Fr Hughes served in all the Oblate ministries - he had been a valued missionary, parish priest, teacher, college and seminary rector, and formator. He lived a full and active life as a faithful Oblate. Even at the age of 87, had been present in the Mazenod College WA community by supporting students and staff.

Born on 23 August, 1932, in East Fremantle, Fr Hughes was educated at Christian Brothers College Fremantle. Intending to become a diocesan priest, he studied Philosophy at St Charles’ Seminary, but later joined the Oblates in 1953 in Sorrento, Victoria, and further studied in Piltown, Ireland, where he was ordained on 15 September 1957.

His first obedience was three months at the parish of Holy Cross in Liverpool, England, before he returned to Australia, to Sorrento Victoria.

In his first two years, he was also at Penshurst New South Wales, Beaconsfield Western Australia, and Camberwell Victoria. He taught at Iona College from 1961 to 1965, then went to Mazenod College from 1966 to 1972 as founding Rector.


Fr Don Hughes OMI is remembered as the beloved founding Rector of Mazenod College, Lesmurdie. Photo: Supplied.

Fr Hughes was then Rector of St Mary’s Seminary Victoria until January 1976, when he moved to Massey, New Zealand, as a Parish Priest until 1982, then Rosebud, Victoria, for 14 months, followed by Tea Tree Gully in South Australia until the end of 1989.

From 1990 to 1995, he was Novice Master and then Rector of St Mary’s Seminary for a second term, followed by 10 years of parish ministry in Western Australia at the parishes of Fremantle and Lesmurdie.

Fr Hughes was then Rector of St Charles’ Seminary in Guildford for from 2004 to 2009, then had a year back as novice master at St Mary’s Seminary, Mulgrave.


He joined Mazenod College in Lesmurdie in 2011, where he had been until his passing. There, he loved watching sporting matches, mentoring students, and was seen as a witness of faith and reassuring presence and pastoral support to both students and staff.

The community of St Charles’ Seminary expressed its profound appreciation and gratitude for the life and ministry of Fr Hughes, the significant role that he played as Seminary Rector, and his contribution to the life of the Church in the Archdiocese of Perth.

“We offer our sincere condolences to those grieving at the loss of Fr Hughes and assures them of our thoughts and prayers for them currently. And we pray for Fr Hughes: requiescat in pace,” St Charles’ Seminary wrote in its website tribute.

Speaking with The eRecord in a 2017 interview, reflecting on his 60th priestly anniversary, Fr Hughes said he was “blessed to have had a wonderful life”.