The Auckland Catholic diocese is mourning the loss of Dominican priest Fr Aquinas McComb who passed away in Melbourne on July 17. He was 86.

Fr McComb was parish priest at St Benedict’s in Newton from 1981 to 1985 and Auckland University chaplain from 1989 to 1997.

In 1985, Fr McComb was sent to Washington DC to study canon law. He then had a two-year stint as administrator of the Cathedral at Gizo in the Solomons. He returned to Auckland in 1989 to serve on the diocesan tribunal and work also as chaplain at Auckland University.

Auckland Bishop Patrick Dunn concelebrated Fr McComb’s Funeral Mass with Hamilton Emeritus Bishop Denis Browne on July 26 at St Benedict’s church.

“In every posting in his richly varied life, Father McComb never forgot his early training in the Catholic Evidence Guild. He was always trying to find new ways to share the truth of the Gospel with ordinary people. In this sense he was very much a faithful son of St Dominic. May he rest in peace,” Bishop Dunn said.

He said Fr McComb was already a very experienced priest and became involved in many areas of diocesan life including the Diocesan Pastoral Council, the Council of Priests, the Anglican Roman Catholic dialogue, and the Emmaus Committee for clergy formation.

During his term at St Benedict’s, he completed the construction of a beautiful crypt.

Fr McComb was born in Melbourne and on leaving school completed an apprenticeship as an electrical mechanic at the Melbourne Institute of Technology.

During these early student years, he became involved in the work of the Catholic Evidence Guild and would take his turn on Sundays in trying to explain Catholicism from public platforms in Melbourne parks to any who would listen, said Bishop Dunn.

This naturally attracted Fr McComb to the Order of Preachers.

Fr McComb was ordained a priest in December 1957. Fr Chris Loughlan, OP, noted Fr McComb had to go back to school and learn Latin in order to join the friars.

Later, Fr McComb had memorised the epistles of St Paul to help preaching retreats, Fr Loughlan said.

Bishop Dunn said Fr McComb had always kept in touch with his friends in New Zealand.

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