ARCHDIOCESE OF PERTH REPORT: Article by: B Spinks Photo: Patrist Society website
Police say Fr Rowe was inspecting land with Sr Jan Rebutazo and estate broker Sunshine Hoyo shortly before his body was discovered floating in the river near the village of Can-asuhan, in Carcar City, on the island of Cebu, the Sydney Morning Herald reported last week.Fr Rowe was a Perth priest based in Midland at the Patrist House and prior to that, was chaplain at All Saints Chapel in Allendale Square from late 2005 to January 2008.
The news of Fr Rowe’s sudden death came as a shock to Archbishop Barry J Hickey who, despite this, said he had “no reason to suspect foul play”.
Archbishop Hickey said that according to eye-witnesses, Fr Doug told Sr Jan and another person to cross the river before him.
“They got to the other side, looked around and Fr Doug had disappeared. They later found his body floating in the river. He was apparently dead. He was taken to hospital but could not be revived. The most logical explanation seems to be a heart attack as he entered the strong current,” Archbishop Hickey said.
“Fr Douglas Rowe was a former Jesuit priest in India,” the Archbishop added.
“He left in order to respond to a special call to promote the worship of God as Father. To this end, he founded the Patrist Society of men and women to spread this message.
“He claimed that the spirituality of God the Father was Jesus’ own spirituality in so far as He was always in communion with His father and instructed his followers to accept Him as their father in the famous Lord’s Prayer, the Our Father.
“He founded communities in Canada, the Philippines and Perth and was seeking to establish them also in Uganda when he was taken from us unexpectedly.
“Fr Douglas had a reputation for dynamic preaching,” he said.
“I am sad for the members of his community and his relatives and friends. May he rest in peace,” he said.
Archbishop Hickey said Fr Rowe’s remains would be brought back to Perth for burial.
Arrangements are in hand through Bowra & O’Dea in Perth and St Peter’s Funeral Parlour in Cebu.
A date and the details for his funeral has not yet been set but at the earliest, it will be next week.
For more information on the Patrist Society, visit: www.patrists.org