Saturday, July 12, 2008
G'Day! We're all learning a new language out here. Yesterday we visited a local park and were treated to a spectacular view of a 'mob' of 'roos'. It was during a community service day which, for us, consisted of filling in potholes on the park's paths. The work began with a compulsory health and safety briefing made far more interesting by the final warning: "And don't go near the Roos - they'll rip your stomach out!". Some of our lads have been pleased to discover the existence of 'stubbies' in their host's fridge. We've even found out there's an Ozzie beer called 'Southwark'!
It's required a bit of an effort to ensure that we have been able to have Holy Mass each day. We're staying in Maitland and Newcastle Diocese and one of our host priests commented that in his diocese daily Mass wouldn't be an expectation. I'm sure it will be after World Youth Day!
Last night I preached at what was to be our own diocesan Mass but when news went round that Mass was going to be celebrated loads of local people and a group from Belgium joined us. I was down to preach and - as you would expect - preached on vocations. I spoke about how the experience of WYD could lead us to take seriously our baptismal call to holiness and how that would then lead us to ask what specific path God had in mind for each one of us. On the way I gave some tips about developing our prayer, benefitting from confession and participating fruitfully at Mass. It was well received. Afterwards I met a Belgian law student who spoke about how it moved him and how he was thinking of priesthood. I was the first person he had spoken to about it. I also met a young Spanish student who is entering seminary next year.
Our own seminarians are doing splendid work. They have been charged with getting to know all the lads in our group and talking to them about priesthood. They are sowing seeds. Let's pray that we will one day reap the harvest!