inspiration

Jan 17, 2019

Parishioners have little idea of the inspiration they give to priests by their commitment and joy in the midst of their many struggles.

I like that word inspiration. It comes from the Middle English “divine guidance.” Parishioners are regular and unwitting providers of divine guidance for their priests.

People often comment that priesthood is a tough life but I never hesitate to respond that from my perspective the parent who gives their life to providing food, shelter and emotional security and love for their family has a tough life too. Any person who seeks to live fully will often find life tough at times, and then there will also be many moments of savouring the fruits of their dedication.

In my last few years in the Hurunui parish when John and Edith O’Carroll were no longer able to get to Mass I would take communion to them at their Horsley Down home on a Saturday afternoon. They were the most senior parishioners of the Catholic Parish of the Good Shepherd.

When Edith and John were receiving communion it was evident to anyone in the room that they knew they were receiving Jesus. John understood that while he was born on Thursday 21 October 1920, his eternal life with God began when he was baptised on Monday 15 November 1920.

The chat Edith, John and I would then have was also an inspiration for me. They would share stories of the past week and just as easily recall details of an event from eighty years earlier. They would speak from a deep empathy with and love for those who they had seen struggle with life over the years. At other times we would laugh together as they savoured the many humorous memories.

On Tuesday evening this week John’s life on earth came to a peaceful close.

A couple of years ago before one Sunday Morning 8.30am Mass at Hawarden I noticed John and Edith arrive early as they often did and slip into the church.

A few minutes later I took the picture above and words are not needed.

May He Rest in Peace

 

Click image below to read a 2010 Press article

 

2 Comments

  1. How beautiful Father John, and what a fantastic photo. We probably didn’t know John and Edith as well as we would have liked, but Julia herself is an inspiration to me in her loving care of Brian and I always think of Brian as a true Catholic man. A treasure. I am Mary’s sister (from across the ditch) so don’t see so much of Julia, Brian and boys as I’d like to but they are a beautiful family and a credit to them both. I think you presided at Mary’s Requiem many years ago. God bless.

    Reply
  2. Thank you Father. John is my grandad and great grandad to my two girls. He is a great inspiration to myself as well. In reflecting on my memories of grandad I can only remember a handful of conversations with him but what stays with me the most is the confidence a young man gets from just being next to a man like John, be it in his workshop, riding with him on his horse, cutting wood, killing a sheep or simple eating sweet peas from Nanas garden together. Words weren’t often required because time and proximity said far more. Your photo is says a lot about their faith, strength and grit through all of the many challenges they have faced.
    Thanks again Andy

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Posts

Ascension

Ascension

Most people think of the Ascension of Jesus as being a ‘departure’ moment. Jesus was here and now he is gone. We imagine Jesus going up into the clouds and the disciples waving farewell from below.
This is an unhelpful image.
It is essential that we understand what does happen and what does not happen in the Ascension event.
It would be easy to wrongly think that in his ministry showed us how to build the city of God on earth, and now he has gone and the mission is left to us.

touching the sacred

touching the sacred

A few years ago I was on Rēkohu Chatham Islands for what has become one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most sacred days, the ANZAC day of remembrance in gratitude for those who gave their lives, their health, their youth, their service that we may live in peace.
The art above was produced by one of the students at the local Te One school.

every which way

every which way

A good number of Food For Faith readers have discovered one of the more recent FFF initiatives, the weekly Homily Studio.
The recording of this half-hour podcast is one of the highlights of my week.

in the room

in the room

Today’s reflection marks the end of the FFF Lent-to-Easter daily email posts. Thank you for your company on this journey.  While these daily posts (for those who have signed up for the Lent / Advent reflections at this link) will take a break until Advent, those who have signed up to receive every post or regular posts at this link.  You might take a moment now to visit this page now to check your email preferences.

During retreat this week I found myself pondering just how difficult it is to accept that God, in Jesus, is really with me today.

disciplined discipleship

disciplined discipleship

As I write I’m nearing the end of retreat days with a group of fifty priests from across the USA.  As I mentioned a couple of days ago the diversity and youth of the group is remarkable with the majority being aged under 40 and a good number ordained for fewer than five years.