Memories are made of…
Every experience creates a memory. And the memory remains long after the experience. Some memories bring joy, some are painful, some are entirely neutral. This year, as in every year, our world, our Church and our parish have lived through numerous experiences; the memories are important leftovers.
Globally, the Church reeled from the revelations of the abuse of children and young adults by some of her priests and religious charged with their care. The memory of this stains the Body of Christ, for when one member suffers, all suffer. The year has brought strong condemnation of all forms of abuse, offering hope that this evil can be overcome and a new memory formed.
Locally, the Church learned that the Cathedral of the Archdiocese, our parish church, was unsafe and had to be closed. The full effect of this was felt by our parishioners. Shock and disappointment loom large as memories. But there was also an awakening of affection for the parish, a determination to stay and work together to keep the parish intact. Wonderful support from St Mary’s College and St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral and our sister parish of Otari, made relocation an easy transition, creating memories of unity and togetherness, despite disruption and uncertainty.
Our first Lay Pastoral Leader, Fiona Rammell, left us in March and memories of her short but highly valued service coloured our concern about how we would manage. The appointment of Debbie Matheson came at the right time, steading nerves and helping us confidently adapt to our new circumstances.
The year led me closer to retirement from active pastoral ministry and triggered memories of my 11 years with you. I have met nothing but kindness. Your homes and your hearts have been open to me and, when I depart in March, I will carry memories of affection and acceptance that will ease the moment of our separation.
Christmas carries the memory of a love so profound that there was no room for its birth. This shouldn’t surprise, because even our own human love cannot be contained but must be poured out and shared. The gift of Jesus is God’s Christmas present to the world every day. Open up this gift in your own life. Enjoy the experience of being wanted and loved for yourself and create memories of joy and gladness that will carry you through 2019.
A truly blessed Christmas, everyone.