Sunday, February 8, 2015
Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese Report:
6 Feb 2015
Fr Harden had a great love for parish life and the community but he also contributed to the development and growth of the St Mary's Cathedral Choir which has gone on to become one of international renown.
Born in Bexley, Fr Harden was educated at St Joseph's Convent School, Rockdale and Marist Brothers' College, Darlinghurst. He then went on to study for the Priesthood at Springwood and Manly before being ordained at St Mary's Cathedral on 21st July 1951.
Fr Harden's first appointment was as Assistant Priest at Rosebery, before moving to Surry Hills in 1954, and St Mary's Cathedral in 1956 where he became Director of the Cathedral School's Choir. He also served as a member of the Archdiocesan Commission for Liturgy, Sacred Music and Art for 20 years up to 1974. It was during this time that Bishop Terry first encountered Fr Ron Harden, who was responsible for forming the Cathedral Choir as a boys and men's choir, consistent with the Benedictine English tradition and something which still remains today.
In 1970, he was appointed Parish Priest of St Michael's Hurstville where he remained until 2005. During this time, Fr Ron was involved in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and which "had a great impact on his priesthood" says Bishop Terry. "He became a phenomenal priest throughout this time. He was very focused on the parish, and on its people - he could build community and ensured people were involved".
During his time at Hurstville, Fr Ron became close friends with Bishop David Cremin, former auxiliary Bishop of Sydney who spoke fondly of their friendship at Bishop David's final Mass at Hurstville. "I lived with Fr Ron for 32 years and we never had a decent fight ... you just couldn't fight with Ron," Bishop Cremin said at the time.
In 2005, Fr Ron retired to Ferndale Nursing Home where he continued to be very active by celebrating Masses and building community in the home. "It was only in recent months that he wasn't able to be as involved, which would have been hard for him - he was a person who wanted to connect with others. I learnt a lot about what it means to be a priest through Fr Harden," Bishop Terry commented.
In 2011 hosted a special dinner for priests celebrating 25, 50 and 60 year anniversaries of their ordination. For Fr Harden it was his 60th.
Fr Ron's Requiem Mass will be celebrated at St Michael's Catholic Church, Hurstville at 11:00am on Tuesday 10 February. All are welcome.
Cardinal George Pell, then Archbishop of Sydney hosted the dinner for priests in 2011 who were celebrating their 25, 50 or 60 year anniversary - including Fr Harden who was celebrating 60 years.
He is seated on Cardinal Pell's right hand side.
1. Begin with the Sign of the Cross,
1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary and The Apostles Creed.
2. Then on the Our Father Beads say the following: Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.
3. On the 10 Hail Mary Beads say the following: For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world. (Repeat step 2 and 3 for all five decades).
4. Conclude with (three times): Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
Then say: (optional) O Blood and Water that gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fountain of mercy for us, I trust in You. Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion --- inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.
Sister Faustina who gave us the Chaplet from God acknowledges the following: "I saw an Angel, the executor of God's wrath... about to strike the earth...I began to beg God earnestly for the world with words which I heard interiorly.
As I prayed in this way, I saw the Angel's helplessness, and he could not carry out the just punishment...." "Say unceasingly this chaplet that I have taught you. Anyone who says it will receive great Mercy at the hour of death. Priests will recommend it to sinners as the last hope. Even the most hardened sinner, if he recites this Chaplet even once, will receive grace from My Infinite Mercy. I want the whole world to know My Infinite Mercy. I want to give unimaginable graces to those who trust in My Mercy...." "....When they say this Chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person not as the just judge but as the Merciful Savior".