Fr. Gerard Remie has his own park down under

A short time ago Gerard Remie, who died in 1999, a Salesian priest, has his own park in Australia. Twelve years after his death, the city council of Palmerston in the North of Australia decided to name a new park after this Salesian from Holland. Because of his merits for the people, the city and the country this park is called from now on: the Father Gerry Remie Park.

Gerard Remie was born in 1926 in Mook. In 1941 he began his studies at the Don Rua Salesian minor seminary in Ugchelen. He completed his studies in the seminary in Twello, left for Italy and was ordained a priest in Nijmegen. Gerard’s big dream was to work in the missions of India. But because this country did not allow missionaries to enter it at that time it was Australia where he went to. In 1987 Gerard settled in Palmerston, a little township on the north coast, close to Darwin. There he began with pastoral ministry and social work among the original inhabitants, the Aboriginals. Often they lived in dire poverty and were socially far behind.

Father Remie began building a school where soon some four hundred children received an education. With donations from the local population and from abroad (including the Netherlands) he also built a parish church and a centre for help. Here impoverished aboriginals could get a free meal. ‘Father Gerry’ was extremely popular among the inhabitants who had a tremendous respect for him. In 1999 he was diagnosed with bone cancer and died in July of that same year. He was buried in the Salesian cemetery in Sunbury, near Melbourne.

The people of Palmerston kept working zealously for a monument to their pastor. Close to “his” parish church they put up a plaque and they were hoping that a street would be named after him. But now, twelve years after his death, Father Gerry “from down under” has his own park.. And shortly they hope the new Catholic High School inPalmerston will also be named after him.


Source: By Joost Middelhoff in DonBoscoNu, June 2011, page 13