A new move for Fr Peter O’Loughlin

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Home > Media > News > A new move for Fr Peter O’Loughlin
A new move for Fr Peter O’Loughlin

Christian marriage advocate, swimmer, prison footballer, Essendon Football Club tragic, Bob the Builder, parish priest – Fr Peter O’Loughlin has worn many hats over the years, and touched many lives.

Now after almost 20 years serving the faithful of Bellerive-Lindisfarne Parish, Fr Peter, 78, has moved on from active parish ministry.

Born in West Hobart, he was educated by the Sisters of Charity before attending St Virgil’s College.

“Our family was very much faithful. We were part of the Cathedral Parish and Mum and Dad were heavily involved in the parish,” he said.

A keen swimmer, he swam in the Trans-Derwent and Hobart Regatta in his school days, when it was a handicapped race, and achieved seventh place.

An altar server, he says that his years serving at the Cathedral “probably sowed the seed for my priestly vocation”.

Initially attracted to a career in either farming or building, Fr Peter turned his thoughts to the priesthood.

“Two things I wanted to do: one is to do something for God, and the other was to do something for people. It gradually morphed into the idea of the priesthood.”

He entered Corpus Christi seminary in Melbourne at the age of 19 and was ordained at 26 on July 22, 1966 at St Mary’s Cathedral by Archbishop Guilford Young.

His first appointment was to the Church of the Apostles in Launceston. Over the years he has served at – and left his mark on – several parishes in Tasmania’s south.

While at New Norfolk, he visited the Hayes Prison Farm once a fortnight and played several football games with the inmates against outside teams.

Greatly interested in Catholic education, youth and marriages, Fr Peter was involved with the Christian Family Movement and in bringing the program Marriage Encounter to Tasmania.

“I considered that good strong marriages were one of the great gifts to the Church,” he said.

His childhood desire to be a builder was somewhat realised when he was asked by Archbishop Young to build a church, a presbytery, a convent and a school in Bridgewater.

“We managed to achieve what was almost an impossible task, and the church was opened and the presbytery and the school found its feet,” he said.

He went on to renovate the churches at Kingston and Bellerive, and build the Kingston presbytery.

While at Bellerive-Lindisfarne Parish, he has been involved with all four schools within the parish, and with sacramental programs.

Fr Peter says he has fond memories of all the parishes he has served in, and of parishioners.

“Every parish has meant a lot to me,” he said.

“The people of the parish are the greatest memories, and the kids and the schools and their parents.”

A short scripture course he completed in Jerusalem, has led to an ongoing connection, having returned three times to the Holy Land as a pilgrimage chaplain.

He said that living in Jerusalem was “an eye opener”, and is planning another pilgrimage later this year.

But before that, this July, Fr Peter will celebrate his 53rd anniversary of priesthood.

“I think that I really had a rich and rewarding priesthood, and I’m thankful for the blessings I’ve had. I thank the people who’ve journeyed with me.”

Now living in Dodges Ferry, Fr Peter will have more time to focus on an interest he has kept up since childhood: swimming.

“I used to swim two or three mornings at Oceana when I was at Bellerive, but now I’ve got the whole ocean to swim in.”