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The people’s priest celebrates 60 years

The people’s priest celebrates 60 years

Monsignor John Swann OAM has reached a milestone of almost biblical proportions, celebrating 60 years of service in the priesthood.

Ordained in Kapunda’s St. Rose’s Catholic Church on his 23rd birthday back on July 20, it was fitting that the mass to commemorate the 83 year old’s diamond jubilee was also held there, back in his home parish where he still serves today, despite retiring in 2010.

“I regard myself as being very fortunate to still be well enough to continue in ministry,” Msgr. Swann told The Leader.

“I am still involved in a number of things, I help out in the parish here as well because we have eight mass centres.”

Born and educated in Kapunda then Rostrevor College before entering the Seminary, Msgr. Swann began his priestly service in Mount Gambier, Parkside, Adelaide Hills and Tranmere.

“From there I went into what was Welfare Bureau, now Centacare and focussed on marriage counselling, marriage education, family planning and immigration,” he explained.

“I still come across people who have actually been in a marriage preparation course, or people I’ve helped along the line with immigration.”

As well as serving on numerous Catholic councils, committees and commissions, Msgr. Swann was a chaplain for the Army Reserve and the Teams Movement for married couples for more than 40 years.

He is still a member of Team 7 and continues to be chaplain at Gleeson College, Golden Grove.

“I think I have been very fortunate in having a wide variety of ministries, probably more than most priests,” he said.

“I was also involved in media and had a regular column in the Southern Cross. I was on the ethics committee at Adelaide University for 24 years, that opportunity came my way particularly through the encouragement of Archbishop Gleeson.”

Whilst  Msgr. Swann has enjoyed being part of many positive changes to the church, he is saddened to see numbers at mass decline over the years.

“I think there are a lot of reasons, part of it is that we have become a far more secularised society, religion doesn’t have the same status as it used to and that starts with education.

For the full story see this week’s edition of The Leader.

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