Fr Allan Hartcher OFM: Humble man of faith who could ‘graciously move mountains’

Former West Tamar Parish Priest Fr Allan Hartcher OFM has been remembered as a humble man of deep faith who was committed to pastoral ministry.

A Franciscan priest for nearly 64 years, Fr Hartcher served the West Tamar parish from 2008 to 2013. He died aged 90 last month in NSW.

At his funeral on 12 July, principal celebrant Fr Phillip Miscamble OFM, said Fr Hartcher was ‘committed to pastoral ministry’ and ‘served with enthusiasm and genuine care for parishioners’.

“Allan’s pastoral ministry extended to all Australian states and he maintained contact with many friends he made in his ministry,” Fr Miscamble said.

Anita Cunningham has been a parishioner at St Francis Church, Riverside, for 30 years and was also a teacher and assistant principal at nearby St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School.

She paid tribute to the parish’s last Franciscan friar, saying that his ‘kindness, gentleness, integrity and wisdom have helped to shape our lives’.

“He was well loved by all in the school community,” she said.

“Fr Allan used to keep us on time at Parish Pastoral Council meetings in a delightful way. He would bring ‘a little refreshment’ for us to share on completion of the meeting, but it was never little, it was generous and delicious: sandwiches, cake, slices and a little wine to wash it all down.

“Such a kind, humble and generous gentleman, and such a wonderful, caring, priest.

Parishioner Alida Moolenschot also recalled Fr Allan’s kindness while St Francis Sunday organist Helen Antel spoke of Fr Allan’s love of music, his appreciation for those involved in the parish’s music ministry and his generosity in contributing to a new organ at St Francis Church.

Fr Allan with the Sexton family in 2012. Photo: Supplied

This was a view echoed by Mary Sexton who added that Fr Allan was “an extraordinarily good and humble man”.

“I was his cantor and loved every minute of my time doing as he requested to make our parish great,” she said. “I and many others felt so privileged to be servants of this servant of God, and owe him a great deal as he changed our direction regarding liturgical music and life as a Catholic in general.

“He genuinely blessed the lives of so many who met him. Truly, in his presence you felt nothing but love and as though Christ himself was in the room. I have never met anyone so humble and meek who could move so many mountains so graciously.” 

He encouraged and recognised parishioners’ gifts, from reading well to welcoming people, cooking, cleaning, singing or teaching children’s liturgy.

“[He] showed by example the importance of always giving our best for God,” she added.

“Many in the Parish came to know God in a deeper way because of his nurturing.”

Fr Allan (John) Hartcher OFM was born on 6 February 1933 and died on 4 July 2023. He became a Franciscan Friar in 1952 and was ordained to the priesthood in July 1959. His funeral was at St Francis of Assisi Church, Paddington on 12 July. A memorial mass was held at St Francis Church, Riverside, on 10 July.

Tags: Archdiocese, News, West Tamar