Fr John Hay, died in Townsville at the Villa Vincent Hostel on Wednesday, 19 May, 2004 aged 78 years.

Fr Hay was born at Colac, Victoria on 19 June, 1925. His parents were Grattan and Vera Hay. He was the eldest of five children. His brothers Fr Leo Hay ofm and Mr Des Hay both predeceased him. He is survived by his sister Marie Whelan and his brother Ron Hay and many nephews and nieces.

Fr Hay was educated by the Sisters of Mercy at St Joseph's College in Colac. He commenced work with the Postmaster General's Department in 1939 with whom he remained until 1950, although his employment with the PMG was interrupted when he enlisted with the RAAF in June 1943. He served in New Guinea and Malaya war zones before being demobilised in December 1945 when he resumed work at the PMG in Melbourne.

In 1950 he returned to Colac to work in the motor industry for several years. In 1955-56 he went on an overseas working holiday in Europe.

In January, 1958 Kevin Joseph Hay entered the newly founded Confraternity of Christ the Priest at Parkside, Ayr where he made his first profession as Brother John in September 1959. His work as a Brother included cooking and farming but was mainly concentrated on secretarial work and newsletter/magazine production.

When the Society's headquarters was moved to Scoresby, Melbourne in the late 1960's, Brother John managed the printing works and Devotional Goods outlet in West End for the Confraternity of Christ the Priest.

During 1972/73 he worked as Diocesan Secretary to Bishop Leonard Faulkner and during that time he lived apart from the Society members at the Bishop's House before returning to Scoresby to take up studies for the priesthood from 1974-1978, at the Catholic Theological College in Victoria.

Fr John Hay was ordained by Bishop Faulkner at the Christ the Priest Seminary, Scoresby on 19 August, 1978. He returned to the Townsville Diocese on loan from the Confraternity to work as Assistant Priest at Mundingburra and Currajong parishes before being appointed as Parish Priest of Collinsville (1982-1983) and was made Administrator of the Cathedral in 1984. In December 1984 he returned briefly to the Confraternity of Christ the Priest to arrange a permanent transfer to the Diocese of Townsville presbyterate.

Returning to Townsville in April 1985, Fr Hay worked in Mundingburra, Home Hill, Ingham, Charters Towers and Ayr as Assistant Priest.

He retired from full time parish ministry in 1996 but continued to provide sacramental care in Holy Family Parish, Gulliver until moving to Villa McAuley to become chaplain to the Villa Vincent Aged Care Home.

Speaking at his funeral Mass, Bishop Michael Putney said "John was a 'humble' man who found his place in our lives as friend and brother, servant and inspiration, because other people and God were always more important tan anything else". That is why "generous", "kind", "friendly", "caring" were also words used of him last night" (at the vigil service).

"When Jesus preached to his disciples on the side of the mountain" Bishop Putney said, "he promised them that their "reward would be great in heaven", a heavenly banquet in other words, and they could "rejoice and be glad" as they waited for it if they were truly his followers."

See also Bishop Putney's homily on the occasion of Fr Hay's funeral.