CATHOLIC WEEKLY REPORT: Fr Christopher Sheehy was a “larger than life figure” who served a lot of people with patience, understanding and empathy, says Mons Kerry Bayada, parish priest of Caringbah.
“He had a wonderful sense of humour and was much loved and respected by parishioners in the various parishes in which he served,” said Mons Kerry Bayada.
Fr Sheehy, parish priest at Rosebery, died after suffering a heart attack last Saturday night. He was 63.
Mons Bayada, who conducted Mass at Rosebery last Sunday, said the feeling among parishioners was “one of great sadness”.
“The parishioners were in shock at his sudden loss,” Mons Bayada said. “He did such wonderful work not only in the parish, but also as director of the Matrimonial Tribunal for the Sydney archdiocese. He will be sorely missed, but he has left a wonderful legacy.”
A canon lawyer, Fr Sheehy was Judicial Vicar of the Regional Tribunal of Sydney (NSW and ACT), and director of the Tribunal of the Sydney archdiocese, an involvement spanning more than 30 years.
Tribunal administrator Adrienne Connaghan said Fr Christopher was a great example of “compassion, justice and service to the Church”.
“He was an excellent canon lawyer and very much loved by his staff in the
tribunal,” she said.
“He was a very compassionate man, deeply spiritual and had a vibrant, loveable personality. He has left a lasting impression on all those who knew and had contact with him.”
Born in Sydney on June 10, 1948, he was educated at Waverley College (1955–65), before studying at St Columba’s College, Springwood, and St Patrick’s College Manly (1967–73). He was ordained at St Mary’s Cathedral on October 20, 1973 and took up his first role as assistant priest at East Granville.
Following this he acted as assistant priest at Kogarah (1975), Parramatta (1976), Penrith (1979) and Rosebery (1980).
Fr Sheehy was appointed a Notary to the Tribunal in 1980. In 1982 he was appointed the administrator of Rosebery.
From 1984–1985 Fr Sheehy studied Canon Law at St Paul’s University, Ottawa, Canada. On his return to Sydney he was appointed a Judge of the Regional Tribunal of Sydney in June 1986. At the same time he was appointed an assistant priest at Mascot. In 1991 he was appointed parish priest at Rosebery and was appointed the Judicial Vicar of the Regional Tribunal and director of the Sydney Archdiocesan Tribunal Office.
Fr Sheehy’s Requiem Mass was held at St Mary’s Cathedral on August 11.