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17 February 2012

Caloundra gets new top priest who served at Goodna

THE new parish leader will start work at one of the state's largest Catholic communities on Easter Monday, April 9.

Father Kevin Smith will take the reins of the Caloundra parish from Fr John Dobson, one of the most high-profile priests in Queensland.

Fr Dobson, 66, who only last month was reappointed for five years as University of the Sunshine Coast's Chancellor, announced late last year that he planned to retire early in this year.

Though no official reason has been offered for the delay, Queensland Archbishop John Bathersby retired at the end of last year and a new archbishop has yet to be appointed.

Fr Smith said yesterday he was looking forward to meeting the Caloundra community.

The 50-year-old, who has been parish priest of Tugan-Coolangatta on the Gold Coast for more than 18 years, grew up in Ipswich.

"Our yard backed on to Allan Langer's family's," he said yesterday. "Is he still in Caloundra?"

Fr Smith was schooled at St Edmund's College, and, after being ordained in 1985, served in parishes in Stafford in Brisbane, Goodna and Redcliffe before heading to the Gold Coast.

The people of Goodna, who were hit during last year's floods, still held a special place in his heart.

"There are some real tragedies there, but the sense of community it has and the courage and optimism of its people. I enjoyed being there," he said.

Fr Smith served as a deacon in Caloundra in 1985, before he was ordained a priest.

"Kevin has a rich humanity, a good sense of humour and is a very compassionate man," Fr Dobson told masses on Sunday.

"I look forward to watching Caloundra parish as it advances further in its journey of faith and of life with Kevin as its leader."

Fr Dobson has been at Caloundra for the past 30 years.

He has been involved with the USC for 10 years, and was appointed chancellor in 2007.


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