Australian Ordinariate priest Father Warren Wade has passed away

Msgr. Harry Entwistle has written the following letter from London to the Australian Ordinariate communities, especially to the congregation at his funeral today, Thursday 12th February:

I was very sad indeed to hear of the death of our beloved, respected and faithful brother priest, Fr Warren. Due to being in London at this time, I am sorry that I cannot be with you today, but I assure you that Fr Warren was remembered at Mass on Monday in the Ordinariate parish in London and I prayed for him and his family and friends in the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in Norfolk.

Fr Warren Wade RIP after theft at shopping centre - AusschnittFr Warren was a devoted priest having served in the Bush Brotherhood, in the Anglican and Traditional Anglican Communions, and since 2012, when he was ordained a Catholic priest on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in the Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross.

Fr Warren struck me as being a person who lived by faith, trusting that even in dark times, God could be encountered. He was a humble man, content to do the Lord’s work wherever he was asked to serve.

I first knew him when he was a member of the Traditional Anglican Communion ministering in Turramurra, and was privileged to receive both him and June into the Catholic Church where he continued to minister to the same group of faithful people.

Fr Warren loved his family and right to the end he strove to do his best to care for each and every one of them.

His fellow priests in the Ordinariate were very fond of him and enjoyed his presence at the first Clergy Residential week in 2013.

While funerals are naturally sad, and we all acknowledge the pain that loss brings, we can be sure that nothing can separate us from the love of God.

We commend Fr Warren into God’s continuing care in thanksgiving and with a sure and certain hope of eternal life and we must continue to pray for those whose lives have been changed for the good through their knowing him.

Well done, thou good and faithful servant, may you rest in peace and rise in glory.

Msgr Harry Entwistle

In addition Father David Chislett SSC, a bishop of the Traditional Anglican Communion, has written the following tribute to Fr Warren on his blog:

Thank you, Lord, for Father Warren Wade

Early Monday morning, Australian time, Father Warren Wade died peacefully in his sleep. He had been ill with cancer for a number of months. Father Warren, 80 years of age, was most recently Parish Priest of the Parish of the Holy Cross in the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross.

Fr Warren Wade RIPI had met Father Warren many years ago, but came to know him well as a friend during the time when he and his TAC parish (centred on the chapel of the Lady Davidson Private Hospital, North Turramurra, Sydney – see photo above) became part of my episcopal responsibility from 2005 to 2010. Father Warren and I continued to stay in contact with each other since then. Indeed, he really cared for me and encouraged me. And that’s why I want to honour him here.

Father Warren grew up in Sydney with a variety of religious experiences, not least his early schooling with the nuns at Maroubra. It was there that he got used to Benediction every Friday afternoon, and – as he often said – his love of being in the Lord’s Sacramental presence never left him. Then, as a young man he discovered Christ Church St Laurence at Central Railway Station in Sydney in the days of Father John Hope, and was drawn to High Mass as well as to Solemn Evensong and Benediction; and then for a while he worshipped at St James, King Street.

Father Warren was ordained in 1961 by the Bishop of Bathurst, and joined the Brotherhood of the Good Shepherd, which was one of the orders in which laymen and clergy took temporary vows in order to extend the Church’s outreach and care to isolated people across the outback. In an interview he gave a couple of years ago, Father Warren explained this particular ministry which in those days was so so vital to the Anglican Church of Australia:

“We were known as the Bush Brothers. We used to minister to far-out places, beyond Bourke and out into the Northern Territory. Our ministry was bringing the Lord to people in far-flung places, staying on properties and celebrating Mass the next morning. People would come from 100 miles away. It was fun. Great fun.”

Following his time in the Brotherhood, Father Warren ministered at All Saints Cathedral, Bathurst, and then in the parishes of Peak Hill and Cudal. During this time he and June were married, and they had two daughters, Anna-Maria and Christina.

Father Warren eventually became a Probation Officer with the Department of Corrective Services, blending his support of so many young people “at risk”, who had no-one else they could turn to, with his priestly ministry in a range of parishes.

Father Warren was an outstanding man of great faith and confidence in the goodness of the Lord, even in times of deep personal pain and suffering, and he enabled so many others to see the light of God’s love shining through the darkness of their own tragedies. I witnessed first hand the incredible reality of his walk with God in the days and weeks after that terrible car accident in which his daughter Christina was killed. In that same interview, Father Warren said:

“Some people asked me when that happened, ‘how do you keep your faith?’ and I say, ‘if I didn’t have my faith, I wouldn’t be here, either mentally, emotionally or perhaps even physically.’”

Father Warren was a wonderful example of devotion to the Lord and to those he loved, especially his wife June and their family, and also his parishioners. He blended with his solid Catholic Faith a tremendous Evangelical simplicity which was also part of his family heritage. You could hear that on his regular radio program of hymns from all traditions and his little chats in between that helped many shut-in and lonely people keep their eyes on Jesus. He knew how to lead people – sometimes difficult people – to the Lord, and he did it with everlasting patience and almost indulgence with those struggling to find their way. His ministry, going back to the Bush Brotherhood days, then in parishes, then as a priest who worked as a Probation Officer until his “retirement” and then his ministry in the TAC and most recently in the wider Church via the Anglican Ordinariate established by the Catholic Church . . . is altogether a beautiful trophy of God’s grace.

Father Warren was one of many gentle “fair dinkum” Anglo-Catholics in the Anglican Church of Australia for whom no understanding or alternative episcopal ministry was provided by the “liberal” leadership, and who faded away, out of sight, having felt themselves to have been “unchurched” by the latest departures from the Faith and Ministry we have always claimed to share with the Catholic and Orthodox Churches of East and West. But at a time of life when most people sit back and enjoy retirement, Father Warren continued to pour himself into loving ministry with his parish of Continuing Anglicans, most of whom became Roman Catholics when he joined the Ordinariate, accepting re-ordination (in December 2012) and – as he told me – knowing the joy of offering the Mass in full communion with the wider Catholic unity. He remained busy in the Lord’s service until the end.

I know how much he appreciated the loving support of the clergy and laypeople of St Patrick’s Catholic Church at Gosford, long before any “Ordinariate” was thought of. He was always made to feel at home there. His funeral will take place at St Patrick’s (76 York Street, East Gosford) at 1.30pm this Thursday 12th February.

We thank the Lord for Father Warren and all the love we received from him and through him. We pray for the completion of his healing and sanctification as he journeys to the fullness of the Lord’s glory, the victory over death that Jesus shares with all his people. We pray for June, Anna-Maria and the rest of their family. May they know the eternal God as their Refuge, and that “underneath are the Everlasting Arms.” (Deuteronomy 33:27)

I am so grateful to have known this holy and loving man.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace.

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