The ballad of oul Fr Gilligan, (printed here in this newsletter), reminded me again, not that I needed reminded, of how human and broken we priests are. Just the other day a lady asked me to pray for her and I said I would, and I would like her to ‘say one for me.’ I was a little taken aback when
she said to me, ‘ah sure Father, you don’t need them.’ Now I understand how she meant it, and it was a nice thing to say, but in fact nothing could be further from the truth. The reality is we priests need the constant support of your prayer.

Since I arrived here in St. Patrick and St. Brigid’s I am very aware of my own inadequacies. This is a large parish, it’s busy, there is much to be done and the question arises for me, am I up to the task? Clearly if I am measured on my holiness this is still a work in progress with a long way to
go. Similarly if I am measured on my intelligence, here too, I will be outshone by many. So the answer to the question is no. I am not up to the task.

However there are three things that might change this, at least to some degree. I have fire in my belly. That’s a lot of fire! It’s a fire for the person of Jesus of Nazareth. It’s a fire for Church, despite damage done in and through the Church, I still see her beauty. This fire coupled with God’s grace
and your solidarity, prayerful solidarity, will together, make the difference. Then, fragile and broken, leaking bucket that I am, I am up for the task. The task of being pastor today.

These are exciting times in our parish. We are co workers with the Lord. We, as baptised Christians, are ambassadors of the Gospel. When people look back a hundred years from now please God they will be thankful for our fidelity. Please God they will see we kept the flame alive and handed it on. We are in the process of building the Church of tomorrow. Let’s do so with compassion for all, in collaboration with each other and in a spirit of serve. Let’s do it with joy!

Fraternally, Joe McD


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