Suprovat Sydney report.The esteemed CEO Peter O’Meara, who died at the age of 67 was fondly farewelled on the 17 June 2023 by hundreds of family and friends, as well as leaders from business, community and faith organisations. Bishop Terry Brady celebrated a deeply moving Mass, filled with tears and loving laughter at Rookwood Catholic
Suprovat Sydney report.The esteemed CEO Peter O’Meara, who died at the age of 67 was fondly farewelled on the 17 June 2023 by hundreds of family and friends, as well as leaders from business, community and faith organisations.
Bishop Terry Brady celebrated a deeply moving Mass, filled with tears and loving laughter at Rookwood Catholic Cemetery, one of the four cemeteries operated by Catholic Cemeteries + Crematoria in Sydney.
He praised the deep relationships Peter nurtured with the different faith communities that the organisation serves, including the Islamic, Jewish and Buddhist communities. “His work in breaking down barriers and connecting us together was amazing.”
The former head of Catholic Cemeteries was remembered as a tireless leader for the church’s mission to care for the dead and their grieving loved ones, who maintained his integrity in the face of fierce government opposition.
In attendance at the funeral were Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, Steve Kamper MP, Anthony Roberts MP as well as Kazi and Hosneara Ali, Jasim Ahmed, Imam Nazirullahassan Thanvi and Azam Ali from the Muslim Cemeteries Board.
Kazi Ali AOM read in the Prayers of the Faithful that Peter “welcomed all the people under one Maker, acknowledging everyone as brothers and sisters, without discrimination of race or nation.”
Mr Ali said that Peter had become more like a brother to him over the years. “He was a very compassionate and gentle person. He had immense respect for all faith groups and would always advocate for a dignified funeral for every person, irrespective of their background.”
In 2021, Peter successfully fought off plans by the then NSW property minister, Melinda Pavey, to amalgamate five separate Sydney cemetery trusts into one single government-controlled entity.
Many of the attendees were wearing blue ribbons, the colour of his beloved Western Force rugby team and of the blue cornflower symbol for Motor Neurone Disease (MND). Peter was diagnosed with MND seven months ago and mourners were encouraged to donate in the hope of finding a cure.
As a mark of respect, the staff of Catholic Cemeteries formed a guard of honour for the funeral cortege as the admired and loved leader’s coffin was transported from the chapel to his grave.
Danny Casey, governor of the Catholic Cemeteries Board, said that Peter had been a man of “vision and courage.” He reached out to other faith groups and “worked hard to understand their many and varied requirements to ensure Catholic Cemeteries embedded them in current practice and planned for them in all future initiatives.”
In tackling Sydney’s burial crisis, Peter won approval to build two new cemeteries in Sydney, one in Macarthur and the other in Penrith. His legacy will continue to benefit generations of Sydneysiders and their families for decades to come.