Five minutes with Fr Bernie Patterson

Holy Spirit Parish, 1993

The Catholic Voice spent five minutes with retired priest, Fr Bernie Patterson.

Where were you born and raised?
I was born in June in 1946 but was raised in Wagga Wagga.

What did you do before entering the seminary?
I graduated as an accountant and belonged to the Society of Accountants. I’ve worked and studied in Wagga, Sydney and Canberra.

When and how did you receive the call to the priesthood?
It was 1973. I had an experience with Charismatic Renewal that allowed me to experience the love of God. I was driving home from a prayer meeting when I found myself praying to the Spirit in tongues. That became the catalyst for the rest of my life. I was lucky enough to study at St Paul’s National Seminary in Sydney. My ordination took place at St Christopher’s Canberra on 20 August 1977.

Where has your ministry taken you?
Most of my ministry has taken place in Canberra’s parishes. This has included chaplaincies at the then Woden Valley Hospital and St Clare’s College, and a lengthy collaborative ministry with Sr Genny and Sr Anne from the Ursuline Order. Outside Canberra I served for five years in Bega. I also had a three-month sabbatical in Chicago and the Holy Land.


What has been a highlight of your priesthood?
I’m a strong believer in pastoral ministry and working with people one-to-one. A real blessing. Hopefully people have gained as much from me as I have gained from them. I’ve been heavily involved in the building of two churches in Kaleen/Giralang and Holy Spirit, Amaroo.

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Anything you don’t miss about active ministry?
The paperwork! There’s just so much of it in the priesthood it’s not funny.

What do you do in retirement?
Relief work around the parishes mostly. I’ll do what I can to support the priests who do such a big job in difficult times.

How have you dealt with the lockdown?
It’s been tedious more than anything. Not being able to get on top of COVID like we thought we would at the beginning has had an impact on people.

Any quirky interests?
I enjoy British comedies and there’s sport, which is my relief system. I follow the Raiders and the Sydney Swans.



Wordpress (8)
  • Sean 3 years

    Great to hear from Fr Bernie! 

  • Gordet Maan 3 years

    A true shepherd of God.

  • Marilyn Roberts 3 years

    Father Bernie was Gods instrument in changing my life in 1993. He’s a gentle man of God with the gift of wisdom. 

  • Gerard 3 years

    Fr Bernie, You are a blessing and a gift to any parish you have been in, especially when working with school children and bringing the liturgy alive for them. Bernie, Jesus loves you!

  • JANE MAAN 3 years

    My Guardian Angel and my Psychologist in this Life.

  • Denise Stephenson 1 year

    Over 40 years ago in Belconnen Fr Bernie came to my assistance with my profoundly deaf young son and another. It was the first time I got help in raising a profoundly deaf child, in some form of catholic faith. He would pick up both boys and give them religious instructions.  I was completely lost at the time as no help was given by the church for deaf children.  Thank you Fr Bernie I’m very grateful. 

  • phyllis doyle 10 months

    Hello Fr Bernie I’am Sid and Ivy Pattersons daughter nice to see you have retired so have I and my brothers.

  • Lee Taylor 4 months

    God bless you, Father Bernie. You were the Spiritual Director on my first Cursillo in Goulburn in 1985. What a blessing and what a man! Thank you. I will never forget you. Love, Lee Taylor.