Farewell to a beloved priest

By Wendy Shaw

Fr Terry Yard has been remembered as a much-loved priest of the Archdiocese of Hobart who generously shared his gifts during 57 years of priestly service.

Fr Terry, who died aged 84 on 28 February, was also a beloved member of the L’Arche Community.

At his funeral at a packed Holy Redeemer Catholic Church at Deloraine on 8 March, Archbishop Julian spoke of Fr Terry’s deep links with the area.

“It was Fr Terry’s particular request that his burial be from this church,” Archbishop Julian said.

“It was in this very church that he was baptised. It was in this church in 1966 that he was ordained a priest. And he was parish priest of this parish from 2001 to 2016.

Archbishop Julian described Fr Terry Yard as a ‘much loved priest of the Archdiocese’. Photo: Mark Franklin

“So it is most fitting that it is from this church that he be taken for Christian burial and of course he will be buried here in Deloraine, marking a lifetime of deep association with this area …

“Fr Terry was a much-loved priest.”

Terence Gilbert Chisholm Yard spent his early years at Ulverstone and then at Deloraine. He had a happy childhood in a devout Catholic family, with his brother Mike, mother Mary, and father Gilbert who was the council clerk.

At the time of his golden jubilee in 2016, Fr Terry spoke of the ‘tremendous gift and privilege’ of his priestly vocation.

He said then: “I suppose it makes you realise what an incredible gift the priesthood is. A jubilee is a time of great gratitude, thanking God for this incredible gift of being called to act in the person of Christ, particularly in the celebration of the sacraments.”

Fr Terry (far right) with his parents and brother. Photo: Supplied

He reflected that he had felt called to the priesthood from a young age, reinforced during his time as a boarder at St Virgil’s College.

Classmates at St Virgil’s included Emeritus Archbishop Adrian Doyle, who was the homilist at Fr Terry’s funeral, and Fr Graeme Howard. Archbishop Adrian and Fr Terry were also at seminary college together.

Archbishop Adrian recalled the cold, dark winter’s night of Fr Terry’s ordination in June 1966 and then a series of parish appointments around the state where Fr Terry became known for his prayerfulness and commitment.

Fr Terry served in the parishes of Invermay, Bellerive, New Town, Devonport, Launceston and Meander Valley. Photo: Supplied

Among many additional roles, Fr Terry served as chaplain at the Launceston General Hospital, was a regular visitor to Ashley Youth Detention Centre at Deloraine and he was instrumental in the formation of the L’Arche Community in Hobart.

“It was all part of his readiness to embrace those who lived with disabilities, and in some ways, he was able to align himself more easily with them because of his own [health] issues,” Archbishop Adrian told mourners.

Fr Terry was also involved in Faith and Light (a Christian community supporting people with disabilities) and took a particular interest in the religious education of children in state schools.

Fr Terry at his Golden Jubilee celebration in 2016. Photo: Mary Wall

He was also a keen bushwalker, conquering arguably the most challenging trek in the state, Federation Peak, and had a love for the theatre.

“This Mass of Christian Burial gives us the opportunity to give thanks to God for the life of this very special person, who shared his gifts and time so generously with us and with so many…” Archbishop Adrian said.

“We commend him with great confidence to God, as a faithful priestly servant, and as a dear relative, valued friend and priestly brother for 57 years. May he rest in peace.”

Fr Terry was bid farewell at a packed Holy Redeemer Catholic Church at Deloraine on 8 March. Photo: Daniel Lane

Fr Terry served in the parishes of Invermay (1966-72), Bellerive (1972-77, 1992-94), New Town (1977-88), Devonport (1988-92), Launceston (1994-2001) and Meander Valley (2001-16).

His other roles included: Vocations Director, Ministry to Priests, Council of Priests and Diocesan representative on Maritas (marriage education). He was chaplain to the L’Arche Community, Young Christian Workers, Clarence Football Club, Inter-Church Trade and Industry Mission, Vietnamese Community, Launceston General Hospital, Marriage Encounter, Faith and Light and the Ashley Youth Detention Centre.

He retired from fulltime parish ministry in January 2016 and became resident chaplain at Fairway Rise aged care facility, Lindisfarne.

Vale Fr Terence (Terry) Gilbert Chisholm Yard 27 October 1939 – 28 February 2024.

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