Fr Vincent Paul Coleman, SJ, OAM
On Thursday 5th October 2017, Fr Paul was laid to rest beside his brother Fr Gerald at Macquarie Park Cemetery, Sydney.
The Coleman Family was well known to Ryder Cheshire through the involvement of his sister Barbara Lewis and brother Peter. Being numbered among the pioneers, they had all enjoyed the privilege of meeting with our founders Leonard and Sue. They took inspiration from their lives and words.
Fr Paul entered the Jesuit Order in 1948 and was ordained a priest in 1959. Over his many years of service he worked in Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales, but it was during his time in Sydney, particularly after Barbara and her husband Patrick moved there from Adelaide, that he became involved in the work of the Ryder Cheshire Foundation. It was Fr Paul who pushed the committee to arrange fund-raising dinners as a two yearly event. Several of these were held at the Mary McKillop Centre where Fr Paul was the chaplain. Others were held at Riverview College. One memorable event was the Dinner at the Opera House, catered for by Guillaume Brahimi. It was a wonderful lunch, Indian food, little children dressed in costumes, speeches and so forth. Fr Paul’s feeling was that one had to encourage wealthy donors and this was a way to accomplish this.
While Fr Paul continued his work as a dedicated parish priest, he also continued his interest in Ryder Cheshire. His delightful exchanges with Barbara, who was President of the NSW Foundation, during the dinner planning meetings, were enjoyed immensely by the other committee members. Fr Paul also celebrated the memorial prayer service for Leonard Cheshire at St Mary’s North Sydney on 31st August 1992.
In 2001 Fr Paul led a small group including Barbara and Patrick Lewis, Maggie Hetherton, Sr Clare and Judy Purdon, to visit Raphael. This was especially poignant as it had been almost thirty years since Barbara had been to Dehradun.
With the passing of Fr Paul we farewell a much loved and devoted family that has contributed significantly towards the relief of suffering in our world. Barbara began working for Leonard in 1961, and she was the one to inspire Fr Paul and Peter to become active members.
We are saddened at their passing.