Fr Gaetan’s ‘Farewell’
In bidding farewell, I wish to thank the people of St Canice’s for their ineffable joy that they brought into my life as minister of the Word and the Sacraments.
St Canice’s is a parish offering so much diversity. Soon after arriving, back in 2018, Sydney was celebrating Mardi Gras with a big parade. After Vigil Mass I was invited to grab a milk crate and go along with a couple of people to stand and watch. Such a happy and vibrant multi-faceted experience with music, colour and joy. It’s also witness to a diversity that’s celebrated so openly in this part of Sydney.
Accompanying parishioners in times of joy or sadness was very important for me. Many would come to St Canice’s to get married. I enjoyed welcoming the couples. I’d always let them know, “The church is yours. You are the celebrant. You are the ones celebrating your wedding”.
When preparing for a funeral, I would share compassion with families in their great sense of loss. I liked to help them going through the grief of mourning their loved ones, and I’d do my best to help them to say their goodbyes. It was important to always bring in moments of joy in the lives of the deceased. Life and meaning are so important at this time.
When I listen to Pope Francis’ concern for overconsumption in our world, and his urging us to care for Our Common Home, I recognise that ‘less is more’. I wish to live like that. We are all suffering together and struggling to make this world a better place. If you take Christ’s words of the Beatitudes, Christianity is comforting but not comfortable.
I am migrant priest. I am always moving. In my Jesuit life, I’ve had thirty Superiors. And even in the last ten years in Australia, there’s been lots of changes. 2010 Perth, 2012 to 2013 Melbourne, 2014 Brisbane, 2018 St Canice’s, and now 2021 I move to Adelaide.
In the Society of Jesus, we are unencumbered by baggage. I know there will be more travel for me, but with less baggage. It’s useless to get angry or to cry about it. Like Tony de Mello says I travel light, unencumbered with baggage. It helps me to become a person free for others.
Friends after dinner look up: the stars in an undisturbed sky, will leave you dreaming of more journeys to come. God bless.
Au revoir et Bon voyage.
3rd October 2021