It has been a while since I have last written anything on this blog. Over four months and a lot has happened in that time. As you doubt are aware we have a small Parish here in Gippsland. My wife, Carmel, and I were running a Motel to pay for the ministry, and our life. Since last I wrote we have sold the Motel. One of the downsides of selling was that we did not get the price we were asking though our debts are paid, thanks be to God. We ceased at the Motel on the 4th July, and we have been madly trying to get the presbytery in Cowwarr liveable.
For the last year and a half we had been trying to secure the Cowwarr presbytery for us as a home, and be closer to where I offer the Holy Sacrifice. Thanks to the local Bishop, the Bishop of Sale, we have secured the presbytery for us as a home.. This has been a wonderful thing for Carmel and I as it has meant that we have a home to live in.. Of course, the downside to this is that as I am not one of the priests in the Diocese of Sale, costing of the repairs to the presbytery have had to be met by both parties. The old presbytery was in decline with no work having been done in her for many a year. Yet, through the good graces of the local church community at Cowwarr, and the donation by a few people of their time and their talents we are where we are today. Painting has been quite a chore as the plaster work had to be fixed up, many cracks, and I mean lots of them, were fixed. The presbytery is almost completed.
It is a lovely presbytery, and the local community have been very welcoming. One of the things that I am most grateful for is that I now get to say a daily mass. We are also planting out the grounds with a cottage garden and are looking at establishing a small vineyard on the back paddock. To that end we have planted 5o or so grapevines.
The Ordinariate community here continues to grow, though slowly. There is a family who have joined us. They drive over an hour to join us for Sunday mass, and it is never easy. Other people drive 45 minutes, or more. God is great, He has lead these people to us in the Ordinariate, and He continues to give. We have been praying for more families to join us, and families attract families. Especially if the faith is taught, the Magisterium is obeyed, and the Sacraments are filled with awe, beauty, and reverence.
I have also been contacted by other families looking for a place to settle. While it would be good for the Ordinariate to have them I just pray that they can discern God’s will for them. It seems that people are willing to move when they can find a suitable spiritual home for themselves. We now have 25 people regularly who come to mass with about another ten making it every so often.
I now utilise two churches in the Diocese of Sale. The one in the photo where I celebrate all weekday masses, and Heyfield where I offer the sacrifice on a Sunday. the local Catholics, those not Ordinariate, are starting to use our mass if they miss theirs. I sometimes have to stop myself from worrying about growth as it has only been four years since I have been ordained a Catholic priest, and five years since the Ordinariate has been established.
With the permission of the local parish priest of Mirboo North I will be starting to offer mass there once a month, 5.00pm of a Sunday. I have yet to make up my mind on which Sunday. It will lessen the burden on the family at Leongatha, and will be another avenue for outreach.
I did not manage to do all that I wanted this year owing to falling off a ladder, selling the business, moving, painting, shoulder surgery, more painting, gardening and church duties. However, some things have been accomplished. Mass is offered every day, visitations are taking place, prayer is being offered, and plans are being made for next year.
All praise to God who has enabled us to be here.