10 June 2020
As published in CathNews
An outback priest has been recognised for his dedication to his local community and the Church by being named a Queensland Great in the state’s annual awards.
Mt Isa parish priest Fr Mick Lowcock was one of nine Queenslanders to be recognised in the Queensland Greats awards, which celebrates extraordinary achievements and lifetime contributions by Queenslanders to the state.
Fr Lowcock was recognised for his dedication to his local community through his work in the parish.
“It’s all a bit embarrassing really, when I think of all the other priests and religious who pioneered the mid-west and western Queensland, they didn’t have the luxuries we have today,” Fr Lowcock said. “I remember a story from Fr Tom O’Dwyer who said during winter they had no hot water and he used to shower around 3pm in the afternoon because the pipes had had a bit of sun and the water was warm.”
Fr Lowcock established North West Queensland Indigenous Catholic Social Services Limited (NWQICSS), an organisation that today employs more than 70 people, of whom more than 80 per cent are Indigenous.
He said he set up NWQICSS because “you can’t have people in your own backyard struggling and not do anything about it”.
NWQICSS started as an employment agency and Fr Lowcock soon realised that the people he wanted to help weren’t actually ready for employment, they had too many other issues that needed fixing before they were ready.
Townsville Bishop Tim Harris said “the news that Fr Mick Lowcock, the parish priest of Mt Isa and vicar general of the Catholic Diocese of Townsville, has been acknowledged as a Queensland Great affirms the extraordinary work and vision of a man who has never thought about himself, but rather who has devoted his priestly life to those in society who deserve our special care and consideration.
“Fr Mick, as I have said on previous occasions, gives the Catholic Church a good name.”
“His outreach to our Indigenous brothers and sisters is renowned and he holds their trust and respect. His advocacy on their behalf is legendary and they have no greater friend.”
Statement from the Queensland Government