FATHER Andrew Fewings followed instructions.
At 10.30am, he grabbed a cuppa and made himself comfortable on the presbytery verandah.
Today was the 40th anniversary of his priestly ordination, and his parishioners had given a great deal of thought to how to safely mark the occasion.
The result was a procession of bikes and cars, which made its way past the presbytery before dispersing and heading back home.
"So many families from St Therese's and St Francis of the Fields primary schools and St Therese's Parish slowly drove past waving, offering congratulations and cards and gifts, yet attending to the social distancing regulations," Fr Fewings said.
He said the schools and parish gave him a great surprise.
"As the people passed by in their cars this morning, I tried to recognise them behind the dark window glass and their face masks, but more importantly I enjoyed remembering the wonderful moments we have shared over the years," Fr Fewings said.
"Thank you to the organisers, the helpers with traffic management, and all the thoughtful and happy well-wishers."
He said his 40 years of ministry had been wealth of experiences and involvement with people young and old.
"So many have accepted me into their lives, homes, workplaces, hospital wards and classrooms," Fr Fewings said
"I give thank to God for the opportunities to celebrate masses, baptisms, weddings and funerals, reconciliations, communions and confirmations, anointing of the sick, anniversaries, memorials, rosaries and prayers and many of life's significant and ordinary moments."
St Francis of the Fields Primary School principal Tim Moloney said the schools and parish wanted to acknowledge Fr Fewings and his work.
"It's our time to give back to him," Mr Moloney said.
He said Fr Fewings had served a variety of parishes around Sandhurst diocese and served in Catholic education in the area of religious education.
"He absolutely adores working with our schools and our teachers and our students," Mr Moloney said.
Fr Fewings had responsibility for well over 1000 children and 110 staff, as priest of St Therese's Parish.
He grew up two blocks away from the presbytery and used to go to school and church in the parish.
"From my front verandah I can see the church where my parents were married, I was baptised and ordained to the priesthood," Fr Fewings said.
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