Nearly 20 years later I settled in West End and began attending Masses at St Mary’s South Brisbane.When I realised that Ferdy was the celebrant of the week day Masses, I made a point of going as often as I could. Those Masses were the most extraordinary moments of grace and community I have ever experienced at St Mary’s in almost 20 years of participation.
Ferdy’s sight was going but his spirituality was as sharp and insightful as ever.The Mass was full of moments of glorious wonder. Gordon Smith, older than Ferdy I suspect would arrive every morning in his suit to serve. With quiet dignity and grace Gordon also read the gospel as the text in the Lectionary was too small for Ferdy to manage.And then as he handed the cruets of wine and water over for the preparation of the gifts, Gordon would kiss them in a gesture of beauty and grace.
Mark, thank you for recalling to mind this man of God and servant of the Gospel. In these days of “exile’’ and religious spin may he call us back to where we are most truly at home among the “little ones” of our fragile human family.