jubilees with brothers

Oct 5, 2010

Today and tomorrow the priests of the diocese meet with Bishop Barry Jones for two days of Annual General Meeting of the priests of the Christchurch diocese.

While there is a lot of business to be covered with reports from many committees, the great joy is simply being with brother priests.

We are a diverse bunch. Some are newly ordained, and some are nearing the end of their ministry and their lives. There are priests I remember celebrating their silver jubilees of ordination when I entered the seminary thirty years ago. They seemed like old men to me back then. And tonight I was one of those silver jubilarians. Twenty five years ago this year I was ordained a priest.

The ‘old’ priests said to me back then, ‘the years will pass quickly’. Along the way I was too occupied (and pre-occupied) to notice the speed of passing months. These have been full years for me, and I could not imagine a more satisfying way to spend a life.

I had the opportunity to share a few thoughts with my brother priests tonight at the jubilee dinner. This year of priestly jubilee coincides with me entering my fiftieth year. The death of both of my parents in the last twenty months also brings pause for thought.

While my memory does not go back this far, I date the beginning of my life to September 10 1961. I was born almost two weeks earlier, but my life dates from my baptism. Without baptism i would have continued to exist / endure / cope and survive. But in baptism everything changes. Real LIFE begins.

I will always be grateful to my parents for making the decision to have me baptised.

I have been deeply aware of this throughout my life. I cannot imagine life without a constant and real awareness of the presence and action of God with me.

It was this awareness that made me sensitivity to the nudgings of God through my latter teenage years. And my journey continued then through seminary years to ordination. This path was not direct, but God has a way of writing straight with crooked lines.

Tonight’s celebration leaves me with a deep gratitude to God. It was the prayer of John Henry Newman that encouraged me in my unsteady steps in the weeks before ordination. When he was facing his own uncertainty he remembered the presence and power of God:





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