Trainee priest Eddie Ekari killed in Queensland car smash
26 January 2014
CHRIS CALCINO | Gympie Times
COMPELLED BY A LIFELONG CALLING to serve the Catholic Church, Edward ‘Eddie’ Ekari left his village near Tari in the highlands of Papua New Guinea with his heart set on a new life in Australia.
That life and all its spiritual promise were cut short when his car was obliterated in a collision with a cattle train near Chinchilla on Monday.
Friends of the 33-year-old priest-in-training have paid tribute to a man dedicated to his faith and his flock - he was in the final stretch of attaining priesthood.
Monsignor Anthony Randazzo was overseeing Mr Ekari's training at Brisbane's Holy Spirit Seminary. He said Eddie had completed a pastoral placement in the parish of Murgon at the end of his placement at Toowoomba Diocese's Chinchilla parish.
"He had the most amazing capacity to engage and meet people," Mgr Randazzo recalled. "There could be 100 people in a room and, within 10 minutes, Eddie had met nearly everybody.
"He had an incredible capacity to touch people's lives.
"The greatest tragedy for me is that the one thing he wanted to do in his life was to serve the church as a priest. It is so tragic to see this happen... I'm lost for words."
Mr Ekari's widowed mother still lives in Tari. Bishop Robert McGuckin has been dealing directly with the Bishop of Mendi to relay news of his passing.
"We are all in terrible shock," Mons. Randazzo said. "If you don't have faith, I don't know how would grapple with these things."
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