Much loved priest at St Agnes' Catholic Church Fr Joe D'Souza is moving to Coffs Harbour.
Fr Joe arrrived in Port Macquarie nine months ago from Goa, India.
While he spoke English well he initially found it difficult to participate in conversations.
In fact for the first two months in Australia he couldn't understand a word of what people would say to him.
But he persevered and parishioners warmed to him due to his intelligence, quick wit and thought-provoking homilies.
In his final Sunday Mass on November 3 he thanked parishioners for their "kindness".
"One parishioner was so kind she only recently told me she could not understand my homilies because of my accent," he joked.
"You would have heard of the line 'love at first sight', my time in Port Macquarie was 'love at first stay'."
Fr Joe said he would miss the "people and beautiful geography" of Port Macquarie.
He would have liked to celebrate Christmas in the town but Lismore Bishop Greg Homeming asked him to move to Coffs Harbour.
"We take a vow of obedience," he explained.
Like Bishop Homeming, Fr Joe is part of the Discalced Carmelite Order and the bishop hopes to start a Carmelite community in Coffs Harbour.
The prayers would only be shorter when the cricket was on.Fr Joe
Fr Joe said his faith could be traced back to his mother who had dreamed of becoming a nun but was unable to as she did not have a proper education.
Family prayer was a daily feature of Fr Joe and his two brothers' childhood.
"We would say the Rosary as a family, then do family prayers and then scripture," he said.
"The prayers would only be shorter when the cricket was on."
Fr Joe said his mother had the spiritual gifts of healing and exorcism and the family would often have prayer meetings at the family home.
Despite his reputation for intelligence Fr Joe admits he was a "very poor student".
"I had a very strong imagination and failed a lot of my exams."
He remembers one exam where for three hours "I did not write anything as I was imagining I was working on a dry river in India and climbing rocks".
It was only when the teacher said '10 minutes left' that he started writing. Not surprisingly he failed that exam.
Miraculously he passed his tenth exam and when asked what he wanted to do by his father, without thinking said a priest.
My mother sent me her masala which helped.Fr Joe
He was only 17 when he joined the Carmelites and has not looked back.
While he has never questioned his faith he admits to "experiencing turmoil" when his older brother and then father had serious accidents.
Eventually he accepted it as "God's will" and things got easier.
Fr Joe admitted he was "very nervous" about coming to Port Macquarie.
"But I was prepared for anything which was for the good of the Church," he said.
He paid tribute to the parish staff and fellow priests who became like "family".
But he missed the food in India.
Things only improved when his mother sent him her masala.
As for the difference between India and Australia when it comes to faith?
"The people in Australia are quite reasoning," he said.
"I have had quite serious conversations concerning faith and I realise that people do think a lot and it is not a blind faith as we find in India.
"For Indians, faith is part of their life, you cannot think of life without it, but here you can."
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