Farewell for Fr Leonard
A LARGE crowd of mourners turned out at the Catholic Sacred Heart Church in Murwillumbah yesterday to honour former Murwillumbah and Kingscliff priest Father Eamon Leonard, who died suddenly in retirement at Kingscliff last week.
Father Leonard, 86, had been living at Kingscliff since retiring after the parishes of Murwillumbah and South Murwillumbah merged in 1997.
He had served as South Murwillumbah parish priest for 27 years and in 2007 celebrated the 60th anniversary of his ordination.
About 30 priests, mainly from across northern NSW, attended yesterday's Requiem Mass which was celebrated by the Bishop of Lismore, the Most Rev. Geoffrey Jarrett, with several Catholic schools in the Tweed sending a contingent of students.
He had been parish priest at Kings- cliff from 1960 until 1971.
Born in Ballina in 1922, Father Leonard received his early schooling there. His secondary schooling was at St. John's College, Woodlawn, and from there he entered St. Columba's College Springwood to commence studies for the priesthood.
He studied Theology at St. Patrick College in Manly, and from there was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Farrelly in St. Carthage's Cathedral, Lismore, in 1947.
As a young priest he served in a number of parishes in the Lismore diocese, including Murwillumbah on a number of occasions in the 1950s.
In 1960 he was appointed first parish priest of Kingscliff, and in 1971 became parish priest of South Lismore.
In 1973 he was appointed parish priest of South Murwillumbah where he remained until his retirement at the end of 1997. For several years he con- tinued to help out in Murwillumbah and Kingscliff parishes.
Father Leonard was Spiritual Director to the Legion of Mary since 1979 and at different times worked as editor of Catholic Life Newspaper and in the Matrimonial Tribunal.
Father Leonard celebrated his 60th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood in November 2007 in the Sacred Heart Church, Murwillumbah.
Representatives of St Joseph's School South Murwillumbah, St Anthony's Primary School Kingscliff, Mt St Patrick College and Mt St Patrick Primary School attended yesterday's Mass. He was buried in the priests' section of the old Catholic Cemetery, Uki Road, Bray Park.