• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

Thursday, 29 July 2021 19:43

Fr Larry Nemer SVD remembered as he wished - 'A good priest'


Fr Larry Nemer SVD Diamond Jubilee 350Fr Larry Nemer SVD, who died in Sydney last month, has been remembered as an accomplished scholar and theologian, a dedicated teacher, much-loved family member and a happy priest for more than 60 years.

Fr Larry was born and raised in Chicago and grew up in “a very Polish Catholic neighbourhood”, attending the local Polish Catholic Grammar School.

In an article to mark his Diamond Jubilee of ordination to the priesthood last year, he said his vocation was always clear to him.

“I cannot ever remember not wanting to be a priest,” he said.

He entered the SVD novitiate in Techny, Illinois, on September 8, 1950, having decided on missionary life after hearing stories in the minor seminary of what SVD missionaries were doing.

“I wanted to be a part of them,” he said. “It was a calling that I never seriously doubted in subsequent years.”

He professed his first vows in the Society of the Divine Word on the Feast Day of the Society, September 8, 1952 and was ordained a priest on April 2, 1960.

Fr Larry’s principal form of ministry over 60 years was teaching in a theological school, including 10 years at Techny, Illinois in the United States and 20 years at Catholic Theological Union in Hyde Park, Chicago. After moving to Australia, he taught from 1990 to 2020 at the Yarra Theological Union/University of Divinity in Melbourne, Australia, with a break of six years when he was President of the Missionary Institute London, 1989-2004. 

His graduate education in Church History and Mission Studies was done at the Gregorian University (Rome), The Catholic University of America (Washington, DC) and Cambridge University (UK).

His work in mission studies also took him to countries all around the world, including Vietnam, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea.

After coming to Australia in 1991, Fr Larry took up residence at the SVD House of Formation at Box Hill and began lecturing at Yarra Theological Union in Church History and Mission Studies. He taught degree units and reading units in mission and church history; he supervised Masters and Doctoral theses; he offered not-for-credit units as well, and during his spare time, he fostered a group which he called ‘Returned Missionaries’ whose purpose was to listen respectfully to the experiences of those who had gone to Mission and come back to their own cultures again. He was also involved as spiritual guide to a group at St Scholastica’s Parish, Melbourne, called the Teams of Our Lady.

Fr Larry became a member of the SVD Provincial Council in 1992, then in 2008 he was invited to the position of President of YTU. He was the founding president of the Australian Association for Mission Studies and held the role of Academic Dean of Studies and Member of the Formation Board at Dorish Maru College until he retired from active ministry at the end of 2017.

In a eulogy delivered at Fr Larry’s funeral, Fr Michael Hardie SVD said Fr Larry was “a good community man” too.

“He had many God-given gifts, which he placed at the service of mission and community,” Fr Michael said.

“Gifts of prophecy, of teaching, of administration, of preaching and spiritual direction, of guidance and service. He was hospitable and welcoming and he loved to cook. And when he combined cooking with hospitality, the result was … quite unforgettable.

“Not only did he have these gifts, he used them generously to build up the Body of Christ wherever he lived and wherever he went, even when his health began to decline and he had to move to retirement in Marsfield.”

In his homily for Fr Larry’s funeral Mass, Provincial, Fr Asaeli Rass SVD acknowledged the presence online of Fr Larry’s only surviving sibling, Grace Dossing in the US, along with his nephews and nieces.

He said those who loved Fr Larry could draw comfort and consolation from the words in John’s Gospel: ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God still, and trust in me’.

Fr Rass recalled Fr Larry’s impact on him as a Church History student at Dorish Maru College.

“Fr Larry made mission history come alive for me and most importantly, taught me that despite our brokenness through history we can see God’s unrelenting faithfulness, and, as he always reminded us, this should result in us offering deep, heartfelt praise and glory to God.”

Fr Rass said Fr Larry never stopped working. His last two projects after he retired from YTU in 2019 were ‘The Contribution of German SVD Brothers before World War II’ and ‘The Critical History of the SVDs in Australia’.

Earlier this year, Fr Rass asked Fr Larry: “What would you like people to think of when you leave this earth?”. He simply responded: “I prefer they see me as a good priest”.

“Rest well Fr Larry and enjoy a well-deserved eternal rest,” said Fr Rass.

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