Condolence Fr Lomiri


I was very sad to hear of Father Michael’s sudden death at Sirovanga. He had many great qualities in his own quiet way and chief among them was perseverance in the face of adversity and generosity. From when I first knew him as a student from the time he first went to Ulapia for his preparation for priesthood he had to battle for his vocation. He never failed to tell people that being accused of being a ‘bushy and unfit to be a priest’ he was more determined than ever to continue. When he returned to Gizo he offered Bishop Crawford to help as a catechist and with the new work of translating the Liturgical texts. Bishop Crawford heard his pleas to return to priestly studies and eventually and not without further struggles he was ordained a priest, the second diocesan after Laurence Isa to serve the people of the new Diocese of Gizo. He served in all the different parishes as well at St. Dominic’s of the diocese of Gizo. In that pastoral work he quickly built a reputation for wisdom and understanding of others who were also struggling.

He attended a couple of priestly renewal courses at Canberra while I was there in the 80s and was often around for a meal and a chat. He never lost a kind of liking for the Dominicans and Marists that he worked and lived with and once told me it helped him better understand his role as a diocesan priest.

Different people will have many stories of his time with them but I am sure his gentleness and devotion to prayer will be spoken about. After his time in the Philippines in Mindanao he was able to help many people with his newly acquired skill of massaging and even though I was hesitant about it myself, I eventually allowed him to help me too!

To me as his Bishop he was open with problems and always respectful but honest in a way I much appreciated. He never hesitated to do what was asked of him in a truly generous spirit.

Others here in Australia who have heard of his passing have asked me to pass their condolences to his family and many friends, to Bishop Luciano and the priests, religious and catechists also to the people of the Diocese of Gizo amongst whom he was held in the highest regard as a priest and man of God.

May he rest in peace.

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