As a parishioner of St Francis De Sales, Oak Park, during all 33 years of Father Des Byrne's occupancy of the presbytery as pastor, I pay tribute to a gem of a priest in the crown of the Archdiocese of Melbourne who retires this year.
Having been privileged to serve as a reader, especially during the Lenten season, I witnessed one who never took a backward step in teaching the doctrines of the Catholic Church. Time and time again, he declared, "there is no compromise with the truth".
Opportunities for receiving the sacraments were unlimited, especially the Sacrament of Penance.
Father Byrne taught that everyone is subject to the authority of the Church, from Peter to John Paul II. For the Church had received from Christ the mandate to which He guaranteed His guidance in matters of faith and morals until the end of time.
Father Byrne's sermons were firm and clear, concise and compact, but always illuminating, with signposts set in concrete, impossible to be blown away.
In the Right to Life walks he put his feet to the asphalt, walking the last 10 kilometres in all of the 19 walks.
Oak Park, Vic