If you have ever attended a celebration of our Eucharist at which Bishop Bill presides, you may be struck by how, at the end of the Eucharistic prayer, he brings us to pray the Our Father. He almost always breaks it open with some relevant contemplative words. It is as if each time he prays this prayer and invites us to pray it, there is some new emerging meaning to this prayer. I find this amazing and therefore respond to his invitation to pray this traditional prayer with a renewed heart.
Our sense of peace has once again been rocked by intentional acts of violence in France and Turkey. And as I write this message on Sunday 17 July, we remember the second anniversary of the shooting down of aircraft MH17 over the Ukraine in which 298 passengers were killed.
It is now Monday evening and I have not even begun to pen my weekly message. Such is the state of things when you take some leave and then return to a mountain of emails, and also a number of people who wish to connect with you during the day. I realise that many of you know this reality, and ponder the pace of life and the notion of an integrated life.
For many families, this first week of school holidays in NSW heralds a welcome break from the regular routine and provides some time out for some ‘R&R’. Many grandparents will be looking after their grandchildren and, I trust, realising their significance in helping to form these young people. Allen and I will have three of our grandchildren with us for a few days at the end of the week.
Allen and I have kept warm this weekend by lighting our fire and keeping it stoked. There is something wonderful about being inside on cold winter days and looking across the room at the red flame and glow of the embers of a fire which keeps the space comfortably warm. Of course much of the house is closed off and to enter those rooms serves as a reminder that winter is upon us. Today as I looked at our rose garden, I thought that winter does provide us and the plants with a rest time. Growth of our plants and lawn slows and therefore the demands of the garden are lessened. So I do hope that you are able to take advantage of this more restful ‘inside’ time of the year while remaining warm.
Here I am, back from a couple of weeks away, and grateful that John Donnelly, Melissa Fenech and Helene O’Neill took on the role of communicating with you on the ‘stuff’ of the diocese on Tuesdays. I enjoyed reading what each had to say from their respective roles in our diocese and I hope you appreciated the many ministries to which we are committed on behalf of all of you. Parishes are the places where we connect with people and in different ways, John, Melissa and Helene reflected that reality.