Vale Fr Kevin
On Sunday, the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn lost one of its veteran and most esteemed priests, Father Kevin Barry-Cotter. Below, Vicar General for the Archdiocese, Fr Tony Percy, reflects on Fr Kevin’s life and immeasurable legacy.
Father Kevin Barry-Cotter has entered eternal life, having died on the weekend, most likely during his sleep.
We join with each other in praying for Father Kevin, entrusting him to the Lord, and thanking God profoundly for his life and ministry among us in our Archdiocese.
Father Kevin was born the 14 June 1934 in Leichardt, NSW, being the eldest child of Leslie and Mary Barry-Cotter. They were blessed with five children. Moira, the youngest, would be known to many of us.
Father Kevin attended primary school at St. Columba’s, North Leichardt (NSW Primary Correspondence Program), Christian Brothers High School, Lewisham, for secondary schooling and then entered the seminary.
He started his studies towards the priesthood at St. Columba’s College, Springwood, (1954-1956), moved to St. Patrick’s, Manly, (February 1957), and got on the boat to Rome (Pontifical Urban College) in October 1957. He remained in the eternal city until 1964, completing his studies with a Licentiate and Doctorate (Canon Law).
He told me regularly, ‘Don’t let your studies get in the way of your education.’
He returned to the Great South Land and was appointed to St. Peter Chanel’s, Yarralumla in December 1964 – the beginning of a very fruitful life as a priest of Jesus Christ in our 88,000sqkm Archdiocese:
1965 St. Christopher’s Cathedral
1965 Advocate Tribunal
1966 Archbishop’s House, appointed Acting Diocesan Secretary (October 1966)
1968 Vice Chancellor
1969 St. Benedict’s Narrabundah
1971 St. Christopher’s Cathedral
1974 St. Patrick’s Michelago (PP)
1979 St. Patrick’s Cooma (PP)
1988 Sacred Heart West Queanbeyan (in residence, while Vicar for Education and Synod Co-ordinator)
1995 St. Mary’s West Wyalong (PP)
2005 Sacred Heart Cootamundra (PP)
2014 Retired to Adelong
In addition, Father Kevin was Catholic Scouts Chaplain, served on the Council of Priests and Consultors, was Diocesan Censor, Judge on the Regional Tribunal, Dean of the Monaro & Western Deaneries.
He was awarded the National Service Medal in 1997. He was a very generous giver towards the education of priests in the Archdiocese.
Over the years, our Archdiocese has had more than a few priests who have been real instruments of unity, not only among the faithful, but especially so among clergy.
Father Kevin was certainly one of them. I am sure more than a few bishops were grateful for his wise counsel over the years.
With his very deep faith and vibrant spiritual life, his gracious disposition and humour, his abiding sense of welcome and hospitality, his pastoral sensitivity and wisdom, Father Kevin was a shining light among us.
Father Kevin will be deeply missed, but it was time for him to make the final journey, through the gateway of death into eternal, resurrected life.
May he now rest from his labours and find peace in the heart of Jesus.
We pray for Father Kevin and entrust him to the mercy of God.
And, Father Kevin, through the Communion of Saints, may you pray and intercede for us all now.
Several of my friends, outside the Catholic Church, always spoke highly of Fr Kevin’s open mind & open heart. RIP Father Kevin.
Vale Fr Kevin. I came to know Fr Kevin when I was part of the Team for the 1989 Diocesan Synod and was delighted to see him most recently at the Clergy Retreat at Galong at the end of November last year. His love of life and people and his deep and grounded faith enriched us all. I give thanks for the witness of his life.
Fr Kevin was an inspiration to Catholic education as he was the chair of the Catholic education commission through the financial crisis. He was both our pastoral leader as vicar and our visionary as chairman of our Commission Our education system was blessed to have this wonderful man leading us at this time. May he Rest In Peace.
Thanks Fr Tony, he will be greatly missed from Moira McAlister
Fr KBC will be sitting at Gods hand and what a balanced advisor he will be!
Go gently Kev.
Thank you Fr Tony,
Yes, ‘Don’t let your studies get in the way of your education’ was a great saying of his… and if we poked him in the belly, he would say ‘Careful! That cost more than your education!’
What a great man he was, we will miss him so much. I think he is as happy as he was in that beautiful photo with my grandparents, now they are reunited.
Fond memories of Father Kevin. In 1992 when Archbishop Francis appointed me (and my wife Cora) as Administrator of the Adelong/Batlow parish following the retirement of Mons. George Weisel, a letter from Father Kevin arrived at the Adelong presbytery where we lived, welcoming us to his favorite town, and encouraging us to enjoy the experience and get out and meet the people. To this day, families like the Vanzellas, Roaches, Wilkinsons etc. still come fondly to mind. The next day, similar letters arrived from the late Fathers Geoff Lloyd and Mick O’Brian. Memories of gentlemen priests of another era. RIP Father Kevin. Deacon Mick and Cora O’Donnell
Fr Kevin was lovely man and inspirational priest who is now moved to his eternal reward.
Monsignor Fr Kevin Barry Cotter was like Jesus. Truly human and Holy Spirit inspired.
Fr BC as we called him in 1980 had a good effect upon us young people. His direction had a profound effect on my life and many others.
He will remember us, how many souls will remember to pray for him and other Holy Souls. St Therese said she would spend Heaven doing good on Earth.
As a teenager in the sixties, I was profoundly influenced by Kevin and have remembered him throughout my life for his wisdom, his joy, his humour and knowledge, our many adventures in the mountains around Canberra and most of all for his great generosity of spirit. In my experience Kevin lived a wholeheartedly Christian life and inspired my spiritual being. Vale Pater.
Great article Tony, from one Cooma old boy to another. What an amazing legacy Kev has left us.
Sincere sympathy to all Fr. Kevin’s family! I never had the pleasure of meeting him but felt I knew him – his grandmother Laura and my grandmother Olivette O’Dwyer (Robson) were sisters. Grandma was a great story teller and letter writer so shared many stories of her family to us “kids” and also showed us photos from time to time. Although she lived at Tweed Heads most of her married life and was unable to visit her family very often she kept in close contact through her letter writing. My aunt Sister Mary Rose O’Dwyer OSU knew Fr. Kevin well as she lived in Canberra for many years. She always spoke very highly of him. May he rest in peace!
A sad day to say farewell to a good friend. Shared many good times over the years in many different parishes. I especially remember visiting him in West Wyalong. He cooked lunch as he always did but that day he cooked a “hand of pork”. Truly a great lunch and a talking point with promises of more once he got his vineyard established. The hand of pork was cooked in his mother’s kitchen pot and cooked the way she always cooked it. He was always a gentle man, willing to listen and a good friend. Goodbye KBC, rest in peace in God’s hands.