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Amazing faith – Jul 28

Amazing faith – Jul 28 PDF Print E-mail

Revitalising Catholic Culture and IdentityBy Vernon Khelawan

This week I want to ponder on two examples of amazing faith, which it is appropriate to highlight in this Year of Faith.

The story of Fr Benedict Peters, which Catholic News carried recently on the occasion of his 25th anniversary of ordination, is one that reflects a level of faith that is not uncommon in our Archdiocese, especially in the ranks of our clergy. His yearning to celebrate the Eucharist in a parish, though wheelchair-bound, speaks volumes for his character and his responsibility as a shepherd.

“I’m ready to tackle a Saturday or Sunday evening Mass in a parish,” he said. This can only be the utterance of a priest who has a burning desire to do the work he was trained to do and which he had been doing successfully until five years ago when his health condition prevented him from continuing in regular ministry. As he himself told Fr Clyde Harvey, the Vicar for Clergy, “I want to do more.”

But Fr Benedict is not the only priest in our Archdiocese who is challenged by particular health issues. Surgery in 2002 changed Fr Hugh Joyeau’s life. But filled with faith and a strong determination to walk again, Fr Hugh has in more ways than one accomplished that goal, albeit now having an unusual gait, and is a priest to his people in spite of the challenges.

In the past 11 years, he has served in many parishes and his faith in Jesus Christ and his continual attempts to beat the odds, so he can do his work, has made him beloved wherever he has served.

But these two are not the only priests whose ministry has been hampered by disability or illness.

So as Fr Benedict suggests, maybe there is a need to now develop a “wheelchair ministry”, which would allow him his greatest desire – to celebrate the Eucharist again.

These faith-filled priests remind us of the indefatigable Pope John Paul II – soon to be canonised – who defied many odds and with boundless faith travelled the world fulfilling his ministry.

In lamenting the lack of priests early in his episcopate, Archbishop Joseph Harris reminded his flock of the number of priests who were afflicted with illness and the need to pray for them and also for vocations, a need to which all Catholics must respond.

Last Updated on Saturday, 10 August 2013 14:53