Fr Henry Nickel, RIP

Fr Henry Nickel, RIP

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Please pray for Fr Henry Nickel, SVD, who died this morning.

Fr Henry is one of the priests who loomed large in my childhood. He was never in my own parish in Ballarat East, but he moved to the cathedral when I was nine years old, so he was a familiar priestly presence.

I long identified him with Pope John Paul II. They shared a close physical resemblance — at least to my child’s eye — and they were both Polish. Their accents, though, were very different. Fr Henry was much harder to understand. Perhaps because of that, I listened closely at his Masses.

Fr Henry always prefaced ex tempore remarks with, “My dear people,” and his homilies were liberally peppered with the same. When he preached he exhorted, so even at a young age I differentiated him from most other priests, who tended not to exhort but to instruct. Popes exhort too. Another resemblance between Fr Henry and his compatriot!

In the first month of my priesthood, I lived and worked at the Ballarat cathedral. The first weeks after priestly ordination are filled with wonder and awe. Fr Henry dined late at night, and I would often share a drink with him, which allowed me to debrief. Those conversations demonstrated his great love for the priesthood, but this was even more evident in his spirit of service and his generosity.

I would add, too, that Fr Henry was a man who “thought with the mind of the Church.” That’s not easy, because the mind of the Church is really the mind of God, and our human minds naturally settle for narrower horizons.

When Fr Henry departed Australia last year, Fr Gary Jones — another priest I remember as a child, who did live in my parish! — wrote a warm tribute. It is timely.

  • Simon Hogan

    Here Here Fr. Corrigan great tribute! Now some people might know or don’t know your incharge of Edenhope parish but lives in Casterton!
    Well the Edenhope Cup is on tomorrow! This might horse to back it each way! Holly Holy and also like number four! That is in race six at 12 mins to five it would on paid tv1
    In the another races I like
    Race2 No6 Race3No9 Race4No2 and 11 Race5no2 and Race Race7No7 and 11.
    Now Flemington Race5No2 and Race6no4 Race7No5 Race8No2,4and 9. Race9 No2and 10.
    In Sydney I like Race7No5 and Race9 No7 and 13.

    The Adelaide Cup is Monday anyone going to that! Happy Weekend to all and Happy Punting!

  • Simon Hogan

    This is the Edenhope racecourse no I didn’t take this photo! They have two meetings a year!

  • Simon Hogan

    Hello I back again but tomorrow Sport 927 the racing radio station are celebrating 90 years on air! They use be called 3uz the still use the same transmitter! They are going back to old name just for one day!

    Yes Yes Fr. Gereald Dowling will be on 10pam until Midnight tomorrow night! He does mention Ballarat very regularly! I think he went to school there! It’s Has anyone been watching Dr. Blake on Abc one on Friday nights!

    I haven’t rang him up yet but have email him! You can ring him while he is on air if your not shy speaking on air ! It’s a free call for people in the country! Well Joel Peart he also barracks for North Melbourne !
    Anway keep that radio station in our prayers tomorrow!
    Now the Jumps racing returns for another season on Tuesday at Ballarat! Here are restults and you watch the replays of todays meeting Edenhope Cup Day! http://www.racing.com/form/2015-03-07/edenhope#/racelist Also keep in your prayers Mon Brian Walsh and Fr. Nihill have died during the past week . Oh I gave you two winners at Flemington today!
    That’s all my news for the time being! Keep Well from Simon the Pieman.

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