On Saturday 26 February, Fr Kevin Melville Mogg AM passed away, just two months short of his 90th birthday. Fr Kevin served the local Church of Melbourne for more than 65 years, and spent more than five decades as a leader in Catholic social services, founding Catholic Social Services Victoria (CSSV).
Fr Kevin was ordained on 22 July 1956 at St Patrick's Cathedral, and over the years spent time in various parishes around the Archdiocese including Bentleigh, Heidelberg West, Ringwood North and Mornington. In 1964, he was appointed Chaplain in the Youth Welfare Division of the Social Welfare Department and then undertook further studies in Rome. Upon his return to Melbourne, Fr Kevin was appointed Rector at Corpus Christi College (Glen Waverly and then Clayton), before being appointed as Parish Priest of Holy Spirit Ringwood North where he spent more than 20 years. He also served as Episcopal Vicar for Social Welfare.
Fr Kevin was a tireless and inspirational leader, educator, and advocate for the vulnerable. For 24 years he also served on the Board of CatholicCare and was a member of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council for 15 years.
Fr Joe Caddy AM, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Melbourne and former Chair of Catholic Social Services Australia, praised Fr Kevin's 65 years of service, saying he ‘served in a very positive and pastorally enriching manner, giving fine example to both his brother priests and the community’.
Fr Kevin's dedication to the Church and towards creating a just society had been a lifelong mission, and he encouraged many others to take part in this mission, too.
Bernie Cronin, Chair of CSSV’s Board, called Fr Kevin's achievements ‘legendary' and said he was a true ‘servant leader’:
‘The CSSV community is deeply saddened by the passing of Fr Kevin Mogg,’ Bernie said. ‘His achievements are legendary, spanning diverse ministries: parish, prisons, rectorship of the seminary, counselling, CSSV and other bodies.
In his quiet, calm and respectful way, Kevin was simply present with people, and in the support and service he offered. A true ‘servant leader’, Kevin worked tirelessly towards a better future, a more hope-filled future, and encouraged very many others to share a sense of belonging and to take action towards a more just, equitable and compassionate society.
Former CSSV Executive Director Denis Fitzgerald, who had known Fr Kevin for 50 years, said he ‘revealed the God of love to so many.’
He did this on a personal level, and in his lifelong work to build stronger communities and a more just world. He had a gift for enabling others to raise their sights, and to make the contributions that they were capable of.
In January 2019, Fr Kevin celebrated the launch of his book, An Enabling Life, with friends, family and colleagues. The book captures the journey of his ministry and vision in an insightful and engaging account. Author Anne Tuohey – who first met Fr Kevin when she started work at CSSV – worked with him to bring this book to life and collate the stories and thoughts that portray his astonishing life’s work.
Speaking of Fr Kevin’s death, Anne wrote: ‘We’ve lost a beautiful, welcoming, thoughtful, inclusive priest and man who really understood social justice and community strengthening, long before these words were merely catchphrases.’
Fr Kevin Mogg's funeral will take place at Holy Spirit Parish, Ringwood on Monday 7 March at noon.
Feature image: Photo courtesy CatholicCare Victoria
Melbourne Catholic08 December 2023
Melbourne Catholic08 December 2023