- Published: Wednesday, 22 September 2010 08:44
Earlier this year, we received news of the deaths of two former MSC confreres, Tim Kelly and Bernie Power.
Tim Kelly was ordained in 1945, studied at Cambridge and taught English literature at Douglas Park and at Downlands where he was rector and superior of the community. He also wrote study guides for Shakespeare and built up a reputation as a literary scholar. His later career was as a university lecturer.
Bernie Power was ordained in 1950 and was a specialist in liturgy which he taught at Sacred Heart Monastery, Croydon. He was also a talented choir director. He later taught in MSC schools. His later career was also as a teacher. He was the younger brother of Fr Paul Power MSC and a nephew of Fr Harry Eather MSC.
Fr Kevin Barr contributed the following tribute for the Province Newsletter.
‘I was saddened recently to hear of the death of Bernie Power and equally saddened to hear of the death of Tim Kelly some months earlier. Both Tim and Bernie were my teachers at different stages of my life and both had a profound influence on me.
Tim taught me English in Fifth Year at Douglas Park just after he returned from Cambridge. He also took Paul Castley and myself for English Honours. Tim was the rare kind of teacher whose message stays with you for a lifetime. Not only did he inspire a deep appreciation for English literature but he taught me to write (using a method of very tough discipline). Whenever people tell me today that I write clearly and simply I always remember Tim and his patient persistence in correcting me. On a couple of occasions I wrote and thanked him for this and reminded him of the words he used to quote from Dr Leavis – “Your easy reading is damned hard writing”.
Bernie initially taught me logic in my first year at Croydon and I didn’t appreciate that at all. However his enthusiasm and depth of research in Liturgy left a deep impression and helped to prepare us for the reforms of Vatican II. As Pat Kirkwood noted, Bernie was our choirmaster at Croydon for many years and lifted us to be the best ecclesiastical choir in Australia (according to the ABC). I was organist for most of the time Bernie was choirmaster and he gently urged me to greater heights – helping me to improve my performance and urging me to attempt pieces that I thought too difficult for me. He didn’t play himself but knew what to demand. He further inspired me by occasionally taking me to organ recitals in Melbourne in the days when students didn’t go to such things. Since my years at Croydon I have spent many years as choirmaster and organist and I know I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Bernie.
Unfortunately I never met up with Tim or Bernie in recent years and corresponded rarely but they are remembered with great love and gratitude.
In my New Testament (on the back of a card I have kept for over 50 years) are some words spoken to us in a retreat by Tim Kelly. He said:
“Religion is devotion to the Father in union with Christ whose mission to the world is one of love. Our mission in the Church is to prolong in time Christ’s mission to enlighten, heal, and liberate, keeping in mind both that these efforts are to be realised in the human sphere (for Christ actually gave sight to the blind and healed the sick) and that our mission also aims beyond that to the healing, enlightening and freedom which are the working of the Spirit in the hearts of those we reach. We are always to be inspired by the realisation that the heart of Christ’s message is love.”