On February 8, 2022 Fr Chris O’Neil, known as Fr CJ, celebrated his 30th anniversary of Priestly Ordination.
One of nine children (six boys and three girls), Christopher John O’Neil was born in Murray Bridge to parents Ron and Von on September 22, 1951. He was educated at St Joseph’s Convent School in Murray Bridge and then attended the local high school.
During the years of 1969-81 he was a banker for the National Bank and posted in various country towns throughout the Diocese. In 1981 he was seconded to the Bank of South Pacific and was stationed in Port Morsby, then Mt Hagen.
Guided by Passionists, Br John McGeachie and Fr John Curtis, Chris began his vocational studies at St Paul’s National Seminary at Kensington, Sydney. He was ordained to the Priesthood on February 8, 1992 by Bishop De Campo at the Church of the Most Holy Redeemer, Murray Bridge, before more than 600 people. It was the first ordination to have taken place there.
With determination, Fr CJ took up his post in Port Lincoln as Assistant Priest from 1992 – 94. As Parish Priest, Fr CJ then spent the next four years in Streaky Bay from 1994 – 98. 1998 – 2003 was spent in Minnipa. He was at Coober Pedy from 2003 – 2010 before a move to Quorn/ Hawker where he would spend the next five years until 2015. He retired to Port Pirie as Priest in Residence in July of 2015.
Today Fr CJ lives in an Aged Care facility in Port Pirie where he continues to draw on his faith and the companionship of others.
Fr CJ pictured with family, Bishop Karol, Fr Arno and Claire Conaghty (Clergy Carer).