One can only wonder what Father Bob Maguire – the “undesirable and unlovable” liar, comrade and patron saint – will think of all this.
Maguire’s state funeral on Friday deserves to be one of the Roman high priests he often mildly derides as a member of the “company”. An estimated 2,000 people packed into St. Patrick’s Cathedral to pay their respects to the people’s priest during more than two hours of lavish services and a requiem mass.
Political and industry leaders in attendance included Premier Daniel Andrews, Opposition Leader John Pesutto, former Premiers Steve Brax and Geoff Kennett, and federal MP Bill Shorten.
But they are outnumbered by members of Maguire’s ‘cobber-wealth’; diverse communities dedicated to helping the marginalized, vulnerable and unloved in our society. Most of all, Maguire preached about our shared humanity and our responsibility to care and love each other.
Among the crowd were underworld status Mick Gatto, CFMEU unionists, at least a dozen people wearing football scarves from Maguire’s beloved Collingwood FC, and a man swaying on his bench, but at the hymn. and prayerfully observe the sign of the cross.
Announcer John Safran, who made Maguire famous on Triple J Sunday Night Safranjoking that his friend is “the reverse Native American.”
“He thought his soul would be taken away if there were no cameras on him,” he deadpanned, prompting a crackle of husky laughter.
Larrikin priests would be happy to be bid farewell by a “Tibetan sky burial where they take you up the mountain and you get eaten by birds,” Safran said.