Monday, May 25, 2009

Radical love and Simple Living

In the early 1980s I was living in the parish house of St Joseph’s Collingwood exploring community faith and justice. I can still remember with amazing clarity the day I opened the front door to a Franciscan friar who introduced himself as Ferdy Parer and asked to see Tony Robertson because he had been told about my work with people living in the local housing commission estates. I hold that moment in graced humility now as I had no idea of Ferdy’s work at the time.

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.

This post is a response to a blog Calling to mind Father Ferdy Parer OFM by Mark Bahnisch

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