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Garry Bernard McKeown is the eldest son of Mr and Mrs George McKeown of Karoo, Coonamble, brother of Merrilyn and Michael.  He received primary education from Blackfriars’ Correspondence School and Brigidine Convent, Coonamble, followed by his secondary education at St Stanislaus’ College Bathurst.  In 1996 he entered St Columba’s College, Springwood, to undertake studies for the priesthood and later went to St Patrick’s College, Manly.  He gained pastoral experience in Dubbo and Sydney parish of St Leonard’s, Naremburn before being appointed to the Catholic Diocese of Bathurst.

Fr Garry was ordained to the priesthood at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Coonamble by Most Rev A R E Thomas DD, Bishop of Bathurst, 1 September 1972.

During his time of Ministry, Fr Garry has served the Cathedral of St Michael and St John, Bathurst; St James Blayney; St Mary’s, East Orange; St Mary’s, Mudgee; St John the Baptist, Gulgong; St Patrick’s, Wellington; St Ignatius Oberon; Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Coonamble; St Francis Xavier, Goolma; St Dominic’s, Kandos; St Malachy, Rylstone; St Patrick’s, Lithgow; St Bernard’s, Hartley; St Vincent’s, Portland; Sacred Heart, Wallerawang; St Matthew’s, Rydal; St Mary’s, Kirkconnell; St Brendan’s, Cullen Bullen and St Jude’s, Capertee.  He is the currently Parish Priest of Lithgow and Portland.

Celebrations for Fr Garry’s Golden Jubilee kicked off with a Family Celebration Day at St Patrick’s School, Lithgow, on Sunday 28 August.  Our talented chefs/parishioners supplied a delicious lunch including an incredible cake made by Cheryl Saa which was enjoyed by Fr Garry and his family afterwards.  His great-niece assisted with cutting another cake at the celebration.  We were entertained by Errol Milliss and our very own young parish rock-band Hollowpoint!  The “nut-bush” was definitely a highlight for several parishioners and the Parish Secretary!

Many luncheons, mornings teas and dinners followed that week for Fr Garry culminating in the Jubilee Mass at St Patrick’s, Lithgow on Thursday, 1 September 2022, ably assisted by Deacon Charles, Fr Laurie, Fr Steve and Fr Thao.  Emily Bennett provided an insightful and entertaining photo presentation at the conclusion of Mass. We moved to Lithgow Workies with a large crowd of parishioners from Lithgow, Portland, Mudgee, Bathurst and Orange (and surrounds) and Fr Garry’s family.  All had a lovely night, and several sore heads emerged on Friday!

Photographs courtesy of Sandra Ray and Di O’Sullivan.