Beacon of hope – priest Bob Maguire laid to rest with state funeral

Thousands of people gathered in St Patrick’s Cathedral on Friday to say their final goodbye to Father Bob Maguire, a beloved Australian priest who spent his life fighting for the marginalised and disadvantaged.

Maguire, who passed away on May 8 at age 86, was remembered as a tireless advocate for social justice and a beacon of hope for those who had none.

Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge presided over the state funeral, delivering a eulogy that touched on Maguire’s difficult upbringing and unwavering commitment to helping others.

“Bob was broken by much of his earlier life, but he grew strong in the broken places, which is why he was able to understand and embrace human brokenness and to learn passionately to bring strength to the broken,” Coleridge said.

It was a message Coleridge said the Catholic Church would do well to heed.

“[Maguire] was about action, not just words.

“He rolled up his sleeves and got stuff done … he had mud on his boots.

“He didn’t judge or condemn.

“He opened his door to all.

“He had an unrivalled and uncontrived sense of humour.

“Now put that profile together, and you have the kind of religion that has a chance in this country. Put the opposite profile together, and you have the kind of religion that has no chance whatsoever.”

Father Bob would have enjoyed his state funeral

Maguire’s funeral was attended by a wide range of people from all walks of life, including political and industry leaders, members of the clergy and Maguire’s “cobber-wealth,” the community of people he had worked with over the years to help the most vulnerable.

Broadcaster John Safran, who had helped make Maguire a household name, mused that his friend would have enjoyed his state funeral, despite initial misgivings.

Reflecting on the occasion, Safran said a State funeral is a rare honour, and it would really have annoyed his enemies.

He said that in the end, Maguire’s message of love and compassion resonated the most.


The Age

Archdiocese of Brisbane

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