A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Fr Bryan John Montgomery, s.m.

Bryan MontgomeryWhat follows is part of the eulogy delivered at Bryan’s funeral by Paul Montgomery, his brother. It is reprinted with thanks to Paul.

 In late 1980, Bryan attended a 30 day retreat, a watershed event in his life and his work. He now focussed on the personal spirituality ministry and in 1982 was appointed to Futuna Retreat Centre in Wellington as Vice Superior and Vice Director. During his 11 years at Futuna Bryan immersed himself in the spirituality ministry. He studied at the Angelicum Pontifical University in Rome in 1984 – 1985 graduating with a Masters degree in Christian Spirituality.

While he was at Futuna, Bryan became part of the inter-congregational retreat team which developed and delivered the Retreat in Daily Life Programme in parishes around the Wellington Archdiocese. Friendships formed during these days also endured to the end. This work continued in Auckland when Bryan moved in 2000.

Over the years Bryan was involved in delivering more than ten 30 day retreats in New Zealand, Fiji and Canada. He also conducted retreats in Rarotonga and Australia.

Bryan retired from active ministry in 2011, the year he celebrated the 50th Jubilee of his ordination to the priesthood. It was an achievement of which he was immensely proud and grateful for.

For many years Bryan underestimated his considerable talents. He was not hiding his light under bushels, he simply saw himself as an ordinary priest doing unextraordinary tasks and abiding by the Marist principle of being “unknown, as if hidden”.

Maori refer respectfully to their kaumatua and kuia as Kauri. In our family, I see our mother Eileen and her parents, Paddy and Alice Lynch as kauri. I see Bryan as our totara – smaller in stature, less in the limelight, but straight-grained, robust and durable. Totara strainer posts provided the strength on which the integrity of the fence depended, the piles on which the house relied for stability in all weathers and earthquakes.

Totara also has a natural warmth of colour the taller species lacks.

It has been to Bryan all of us have turned when in need of support and sound advice.

Given an absentee father, it was Bryan who gave both Patricia and Maureen away in marriage, who married Bernadette, Kevin and me, as well as nieces and nephews. He buried mum and other family members. He baptised nieces and nephews and their children.

At all times and in a range of testing circumstances, Bryan was there for each of us when needed.

I am certain many of you here to farewell Bryan, know exactly the qualities to which I refer.

Returning briefly to the matter of talents...

Bryan, while you may not have rated yours highly, you did not bury them nor even ration them out. There are people here today, and many more unable to be here, who have benefitted from those talents you so generously shared.

We ask that your Lord and ours welcome you home with the greeting: “Well done, you good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord”.

Born in Wellington on 26 August 1936, Bryan Montgomery made his first profession in the Society of Mary on 24 January 1958, and was ordained to the priesthood on 9 July 1961. His appointments were as follows:

1962-1969 St Bede’s College, Christchurch

1970-1971 Whangarei (curate)

1972 1973 Nelson (curate)

1973-1981 Blenheim

1976-1981 Superior & Parish Priest

1981 May - 1985 May - Provincial Councillor

1982-1992 Futuna (Vice-Superior & Vice-Director)

August 1984 - 1985 Rome, Studies

1987 Superior & Director at Futuna

1988 - Spiritual Directors’ Course, Australia

1993-1994 Maryknoll, Greenmeadows, Assistant to the Novice Master

1994-1999 Marist Centre, Wellington (Superior)

2000-2001 Sacred Heart Parish, Epsom

2002-2003 Manurewa

2004-2010 Ngaio, Spirituality Ministry

2011 Retired, Marist Centre, Wellington

December 2012 Rest Care, Home of Compassion Silverstream

Died 2 January 2014

Tombstone Gray

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