Two weeks ago, I shared that I had been appointed Director of Vocations, and I asked for the parish to pray three decades of the Rosary each day for this intention. In last week’s message, I looked at the subject of vocations in response to some questions. This Sunday we begin Vocations week in the Archdiocese where we focus on this in prayer. However, I forgot to write about something blindingly obvious on this topic in respect of our parish. Fortunately, I remembered for the online Mass last Sunday. Last Saturday was the 60th anniversary of Fr Barry Moran’s ordination to the priesthood.
If we were not in the middle of “Lockdown II: Son of Lockdown”, last Saturday would have seen a Mass and social gathering to celebrate this wonderful occasion. As it is, we had to postpone this and settle for updating the bronze plaque at the back of the Church that names all the parish priests who have served this community. (We also got Fr Joe Caddy’s name on there.)
I mentioned at the Mass that it was fitting for this Parish that the anniversary fell on the feast of St James. This is because in our Church there is a window to St James at the back of the Church, and the figure of St James has been given the facial features of Fr James Corbett. Fr James Corbett was the priest responsible in large part for the building of the Church. As you probably know, we have Fr Barry Moran to thank also in large part for the wonderful restoration of our beautiful Church. You can see pictures of both the plaque and the window on the parish Instagram account (https://www.instagram.com/stmarysstkildaeast/).
A couple of times this year, we have had seminarians visit to look at our Church for the purposes of their studies in liturgical architecture and the theology of beauty. On one such visit, the seminarians were very fortunate to bump into Fr Moran and witness his great love for this place and deep knowledge of its history. What was even more inspiring was the obvious fact that his love for the building paled in comparison for his love for the people, the true Church.
Let’s pray, then, in thanksgiving for the service that Fr Moran has given the people of this area, not least seen in the care of our Church. But let’s also pray for those who are studying for the priesthood and even discerning whether such a call is theirs. May they have hearts wide open to the Lord and their neighbour, that they might become true bridges between heaven and earth, taking God to the world and the world to God.