Bishop Ted Collins MSC DD AM laid to rest St Mary’s Star of the Sea Cathedral Darwin
On Tuesday 19th August, The Most Reverend Edmund John Patrick Collins MSC DD AM, Bishop Emeritus of the Catholic Diocese of Darwin was laid to rest in the Crypt of the St Mary’s Star of the Sea Cathedral Darwin.
The Solemn Pontifical Mass of Christian Burial was presided by The Most Reverend Bishop Eugene Hurley DD, and con celebrated by Archbishop Phillip Wilson of Adelaide, Bishop Christopher Saunders of Broome, Bishop James Foley of Cairns and retired Archbishop John Bathersby and Bishop Luc Matthys.
An overflowing St Mary’s Cathedral with over 1,000 in attendance, were joined by Her Honour the Honourable Sally Thomas, Administrator of the Northern Territory, The Honourable Adam Giles, Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, Northern Territory Government Ministers, The Leader of the Opposition, Ms Delia Lawrie, The Right Worshipful, Lord Mayor of Darwin, Katrina Fong Lim, Members of the Legislative Assembly, Federal politicians Mrs Natasha Griggs and The Honourable Warren Snowden.
Bishop Ted Collin’s only surviving sibling, sister Madge travelled from New South Wales for the Requiem Mass, together with Bishop Ted’ niece Anne and nephews Tony and Gerard.
Numerous Missionaries of the Sacred Heart priests and brothers were present to celebrate and farewell the third Bishop of Darwin. Many of whom at worked with him in his 21 years as Bishop of Darwin. Fr Tim Brennan msc offered a fitting tribute to his life and ministry in his homily. A man for and with the people. “Pope Francis speaks of the need for bishops and priests to be shepherds living with the smell of the sheep. I think that captures Bishop Ted Collins.”
“People left Bishop Ted’s company with a sense they had encountered somebody who cared for them – a person who sensed the pain or heartbreak that they carried; that they themselves were important.”
The Northern Territory’s Euthanasia laws came into effect during Bishop Ted’s term and it was a cause he took on strongly. “The movement for Euthanasia legislation in the NT galvanised Bishop Ted like nothing else. It thrust him into the public limelight He was the focus of international media attention for months on end. Euthanasia was at odds with how Bishop Ted lived, the good God he loved, his understanding of human existence, and his deepest beliefs. And not just that, he saw euthanasia being rebadged as an NT autonomy issue instead.” Fr Brennan shared.
Bishop Ted is well remembered for his love of Aboriginal people and his welcome to their participation in the life and liturgy of the Church. It was evident in the strong participation of the Wadeye and Tiwi people in the liturgy of the Requiem Mass. Their love and respect Bishop Ted was clear. “Ted Collins’ 1986 return to Darwin to be ordained a bishop was a time of great hope for priests like Fr John Leary msc who had worked for years in aboriginal communities and who felt Bishop O’Loughlin was holding back indigenous expression in matters such as the liturgy. Under the leadership of Bishop Ted, the Catholic Church became a partner in Nungalinya College – part of whose charter is the training of indigenous men and women for church ministry.”
Bishop Ted Collins was remembered as a man for and with the people. “On his episcopal coats of arms were the words Cor Unum, – of one heart. Bishop Ted lived out of his heart. He was at ease with people, he enjoyed people, he saw the good in people.”
Go forth faithful servant and be at peace with God our Father.
Fr Tim Brennan Homily (PDF 1.45MB)
Reflection on Requiem Mass (PDF 432KB)
Photos by Mark Crocombe