In the kitchen with Fr E
Fr E likes to cook. In his home state of Odisha staple ingredients are lentils, rice and vegetables. Sometimes there is fish, especially on the occasion of feasts and Sundays. Though Odisha is on the shore of Bay of Bengal, his family live about 600 kilometers inland, so the fish is fresh water. “The fish has a lovely sweet taste. Meat is rare. In a hot country like India, you don’t always feel the need of eating meat.” Father explains.
“I know if I do certain things whatever I’m cooking can’t go wrong”. Father goes on to explain that he mixes his spices first and uses them to marinate the fish or meat he is cooking. Closer to meal time the pan is heated with a little oil. “The chillies can be green or red, but I prefer green. I fry them up with a little ginger if there is meat. Then I add chopped garlic and onion, stirring until golden brown”. Everything else to be cooked is folded in. Fr E says that if he uses tomatoes they are fresh, never tomato sauce!
“So there you have it a recipe for whatever you are cooking. A recipe that will work out nicely”. Father is relaxing in the parish friary as he talks. It’s natural the conversation should turn to his recipe for the parish.
“I’d like to see us mix many cultures and influences, for a very rich dish.” Fr E gets excited talking about a parish where we are all participants rather than an audience. “We need to go beyond co-operation”. Father seeks true collaboration where everyone contributes their talents. Everyone needs to feel welcome, respected, cared for and part of what’s happening.
“It’s like back at home. In coming together for a meal, everyone is there. We pray, we serve, we sit without table and chairs, and we eat with our hands. There is much talking, everyone has something to say.”
At midday everyone in the Holy Trinity friary comes together, prays, serves the meal to one another and there is much talk. Meals in the friary also conclude with prayer, remembering those no longer with us. “At the end of the meal we pray: may the divine assistance remain always with us and the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace”.
Past, present and future...something to think about.
Contacts in high places
When work is getting you down and it’s having an effect on life at home, it’s good to know that you have great contacts.
A prayer to the patron saint of your occupation doesn’t have to be elaborate, it might just be “HELP!” These Saints have been through struggles similar to, possibly worse than what you are suffering. They know how to help.
Tim Gordon is no ordinary guy. He’s taken his Marist training at both school and in the seminary to the places where the rubber hits the road. Through his business “The Improvisers” he helps people think.
Drawing together a crowd of parishioners after the parish survey, he challenged them to say what it is they meant. The survey results suggest that we are strong on community and strong on being a welcoming community. What does this mean? In the course of an hour the assembled took a hard look at what key survey results meant and in Tim’s words started to discern.
The results have been poured into parish council visioning. Barry Brook says they’re close to something definitive, something that will reflect what everyone has been saying.
Getting the vision sorted is only just the beginning. It will be a yardstick by which we can measure what we do. Maybe some things that have been done in the past aren’t so important for where we are seeing our future. Perhaps, these things will become less important as we journey together.
The vision may see us exploring in other areas. Seeking new opportunities to become the kind of parish we aspire to be. New directions bring risk, risk brings the chance of failure. Perhaps we will experience some failures but they will be opportunities to learn, opportunities to find success and enjoy it all the more.
In ancient Roman times a quorum of parents could agree to have a pesky child put down. Families aren’t going back to those bad old days! Nor is our concept of family likely to stay in its current state of flux. Who is to say where we are headed?…enter, Pope Francis. Here’s a Pope that is not shy of the big questions.
Where he lives it’s moving to winter. A good time to draw your colleagues together in a huddle, up the thermostat on the heating and nut things out.
In the Synod on Family Pope Francis has called for, he knows that the issues to be discussed will bring strong emotion and heated debate. In his musings he suggests serious intent. The following are his own words.
“I remember in my former diocese how many families told me that almost the only time they came together was at dinner, in the evening after work, when the children had finished their homework. These were special times in the life of the family. They talked about what happened that day and what each of them had done; they tidied the house, put things away and organised their chores for the next few days.
These were also times when someone might come home tired, or when arguments or bickering might break out.
Jesus chooses all those times to show us the love of God. He chooses those moments to enter into our hearts and to help us to discover the Spirit of life at work in our daily affairs. It is in the home that we learn fraternity, solidarity, and not to be overbearing. It is in the home that we learn to receive, to appreciate life as a blessing and to realise that we need one another to move forward. It is in the home that we experience forgiveness that we are continually asked to forgive and to grow.
In the home there is no room for ‘putting on masks’: we are who we are, and in one way or another we are called to do our best for others”.
And elsewhere…“I should mention that the Synod is neither a convention, nor a ‘parlour’, a parliament nor senate, where people make deals…[it is part of]… the Church that journeys together to understand reality with the eyes of faith and with the heart of God.
It is the Church that questions herself with regard to her fidelity to the deposit of faith, which does not represent for the Church a museum to view, nor just something to safeguard, but is a living spring from which the Church drinks, to satisfy the thirst of, and illuminate the deposit of life.”
In the words of Fr Ephrem we seek to be a truly collaborative parish, where everyone contributes their talents, where we are all active participants. Two of many great examples of how we are achieving this right now in our parish:
MULTI-CULTURALISM SO GOOD YOU CAN EAT IT – Helen Barber is deputy principal at St Patrick’s Primary School. For her language is the soul of a culture. At her school’s semi-annual social sciences event children wear their national costume and share the language and dance of their culture. This year’s event featured a cultural wearable arts competition. Everybody has something to contribute, everyone has something to learn.
Fiona D’Souza is Director of Religious Studies at the school, she is excited about their up-coming Food Fair and warmly invites the whole parish to join the celebration. Mark Friday 27 November 2015, 5.30pm in your diaries. The various nationalities of the school will be sharing the food of their culture, with flags waiving and music playing. Asked what she will be trying that evening she replies “anything sweet!”
SHARING OUR ABUNDANCE WITH THOSE IN NEED - Brendan Quirk of our Seatoun and Miramar St Vincent de Paul Society says the Society is pleased to provide back-up for families. “It is important that families in need know that they can turn to the Society” Brendan stresses. The first thing the Society member does is listen. Tell them your concerns, it may be the price of school shoes or a uniform item or activity fees. The Society has the backing in the parish of a number of donors who want to assist our most needy school students.
Brendan says “we also have a twice-yearly food collection at Pak’n Save, Kilbirnie, so we always have emergency food on hand for needy families".
The next collection is on Saturday 14 November 2015, 11am-6pm. As customers come into the store they are given a small piece of paper with food donation ideas, including items for school lunches. As shoppers trundle around the supermarket filling their trolley they add a few items to their list. The Society collects and holds the items for distribution to families in need.
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