HOW WOULD YOU HAVE RESPONDED?
In driving rain a truck is in front of you. Unable to get out of the way the unthinkable happens. Fifty-six days later you wake up from a deep coma. Physical movement is hard. Even speaking is a challenge. For the following thirty years unable to work, you live a very different life to what you had expected.
What sort of person would you become?
Parishioner Mark Gardiner faced these ordeals. He is a faith filled person with a warm and generous spirit. For him there is but one response. He is grateful.
Talking to Mark at his home surrounded by photos of his family, he talks with love and gratitude for his wife and joy for what their eleven children have achieved.
Pressed hard he is emphatic in his gratitude for the cross he has been given to carry.
In Mark’s words “suffering is a part of life, everyone has a cross to carry, we don’t get to choose the shape or weight of it. It is given to us and when we carry it with faith it becomes a positive not a burden in our life.” In the words of Matthew 5:16, let your light shine so people will get to see how good our Father is.
With a growing family and successful business everything was ticking along nicely for Mark. When a friend introduced him to St John Paul on the Pope’s visit to Wellington, Mark was in awe.
Little did he know that only a year later his family would be keeping constant vigil at his hospital bed. Nor, that the friend that introduced him to St John Paul would have the Pope making a personal prayer for Mark’s recovery. But, these things happened and Mark emerged from coma, alive but disabled.
Today, Mark goes to Mass every day, praying the Rosary through the rest of the day. He is a contented man, happy to share his faith with others. In fact, he says having a disability draws empathy, making it easier to talk about and share faith.
Given the same circumstances, how would you have responded?
JOIN MARK IN PRAYING THE ROSARY
The Rosary is made up of groups of significant events or moments in the life of Jesus and Mary. The first contains joyful mysteries; the second, the mysteries of light; the third, the sorrowful mysteries; and the fourth, the glorious mysteries.
You don’t have to pray it on your own. Join the Rosary group at St Anthony’s prior to weekday Mass or join Virtual Rosary on You Tube. These You Tube videos will invite you to join others praying on line.
If you’ve been driving through Kilbirnie over the past few weeks, many of you will have noticed the security fencing and signage on parish property indicating that work has begun on preparing the former presbytery building for demolition.
The process is going well so far and the actual demolition of the building is now underway with the team being mindful of those living, praying and working nearby.
For most of us we will have been confronted by this visible sign of change in our parish. While the change will be bringing back memories of past priests and activities, no doubt the change will be making us think of our aspirations for the future.
For some of us it will be simple, a place to park closer to Mass or a reflective garden in which to sit and pray.
Fiona D’Souza, Director of Religious Studies, St Patricks Primary School, has made the following observations:
Ever since I joined the school a number of years ago, I’ve been very aware and very appreciative of the commitment of the Parish to ensure our Parish and school work together wherever possible. The Church of New Zealand, too, understands the vital role schools now play in the role of the Church and promotes the close relationship of parish and school.
It has been wonderful to see the Parish be so open to the needs and well-being of our students and going to great lengths to nurture the students’ faith, supporting and initiating involvement of the students in Parish activities; involving students by encouraging artwork for the church, sending parishioners in to the school to speak to the assembly about Parish ministries, having parish council members run a parenting course in the school for our parents, having parishioners help run the school breakfast club, sending a person in to write articles for the Parish magazine, having parishioners to help at the school’s ethnic food fair, allowing the school to have a key to allow easy access to the church for prayer and learning about the church, parishioners donating shoes for students in need, etc
Recently, I attended Mass in the Parish and was very concerned to hear the planned developments for the land becoming vacant with the demolition of the presbytery bore no mention of the school. I would like to offer some thoughts from our staff about the plans for the use of the land to ensure the development benefits the Parish and people as best possible.
I believe the new space provides a fantastic opportunity for us to head in a similar direction as the new parish centre of Our Lady of Kapiti whereby the Church, hall and school are all being built together on the same land. This will make for a thriving space which promotes the unity of Parish and school.
It seems to make sense that the land be used as much as possible to the benefit of the parish and her people. I do appreciate the need for additional parking. During the week days instead of sitting largely idle it would be wonderful to see the parks and garden utilised by the school students who are very much in need of more space.
I wonder whether it would be feasible to consider a slight revision to the plan such as the removal of the brown wooden fence separating the school and the parish. This could open up the space so that Church and school are not separated and would allow the new space (tarmac and garden) to be accessed by the school children, with the understanding on the occasions the space is needed it would be available for Church activities.
The Parish can be very proud this school is not only thriving but is noted in Wellington Catholic Education for the rapid growth in recent years.
The growing roll is really exciting! Having more students means the size of the playground has become problematic. Apart from the increased number of students, having re-capitated (adding intermediates) and having the older, bigger students is another reason for extra space. Unfortunately, in the last year or so there have been more accidents in the playground due to the shortage of space.
We are all fully aware of the benefits of physical activity and outdoor time, for physical, mental and spiritual health. In addition, we are very conscious of our responsibility to ensure the Health and Safety standards which are not only a professional obligation but also a moral duty.
Many of our students live in high rise council flats, with limited play space so, even though the space in our playground is very limited, the students are so desperate for space to run around they often stay at school well after the end of school bell has rung.
Allowing the students the use of the soon to be created space would enable the students to exercise and enjoy the benefits of playing outside with less risk and more safety. It just seems so sad to have the land empty during school days when it could be used by the young people in such desperate need of it.
During the month we will mark the life of St Laurence. Do you know what day we will do this? Do you know where to find the saint of the day? Try Goggling it and see what you get.
Like other saints St Laurence didn’t live a normal life and he certainly didn’t die a normal death. St Laurence was braver than most people. He stood up for what he believed to be right. When people where against him and put him to death, he didn’t change his mind.
St Laurence worked in the Church and looked after its treasurers. When the King at the time demanded that he give over the treasure of the church, St Laurence handed over what he felt was the real treasure of the church – the poor, the widowed, the sick and disabled. The King saw wealth in a different way, he demanded gold and worldly treasure. The King was so mad that he decided to slowly burn St Laurence to death.
As he burned, St Laurence didn’t yell out saying that he thought the King was wrong, nor did he yell out for someone to save him. Instead in defiance to the King and his bad ways he simply said that one side of his body was cooked and if he was turned over he would cook on the other side. This is how St Laurence died. He died holding to what he knew to be right. He died confident that the life after this one would be better.
Congratulations to last month’s winner Gerard Sullivan who won a $20 book voucher for his answers in our Lent competition.
...is editor of our monthly magazine. If you have news and views to share please email them to: email@example.com