This year, on Friday, November 4, Jesuits gathered at noon in one of Melbourne’s oldest cemeteries, in the Kew district, next to the oldest common grave where the first Jesuits who came from Austria and Ireland were buried more than 150 years ago, as well as those born in the antipodes in pioneering years.
In the last century, over 300 Jesuit priests and brothers were buried in three such common graves in this old cemetery. In one of them, in 1980, Father Józef Janus SJ was also laid to rest after nearly 30 years of sacrificial pastoral service for the Polish community in Australia. During his lifetime he was called “the Shepherd of Richmond” and the Poles in Victoria owe him a great deal. And they do not forget about him. At his resting place, flowers from anonymous parishioners have been appearing continuously and invariably for 42 years. In addition to his surname and first name, a small inscription on a brass plate once appeared on the common tombstone: “Here lies a priest who loved the people.”
After praying together for their deceased brothers, singing ‘Salve Regina’ and having a moment to recall personal memories about them, the Australian Jesuits gathered for lunch at Campion House nearby.
Fr Wieslaw Slowik SJ
This article was originally published on Polish Jesuits of Melbourne.
Photo and video provided by Fr Mariusz Han SJ.