Stories

We asked our Missionaries of the Sacred Heart to share a story about a beautiful and simple pastoral moment during their life as an MSC.

These are their stories.

 

Look. He’s broken, just like me.

I was chaplain to the Randwick Campus of hospitals for ten years and there were many such occasions in that very privileged ministry.

John was a young man and a patient in the acute section of the Kiloh Centre who suffered from multiple psychiatric pathologies.  He asked me to bring him Communion, so I would go there every Sunday afternoon after I had said Mass there.

The first time I went there, we sat out in a corner of the little courtyard.  When I opened the pyx I saw that the top host had cracked when I had closed the lid. I placed this host in his hand, and before he placed it in his mouth he looked up at me and said: “Look.  He’s broken, just like me”.

This was one moment in my ministry when I felt an overwhelming awe of God’s presence and I was moved to tears as I realised that this young man had captured in a few words all the theology of this Sacrament.

In a sense he taught me more in that moment than all the years of study in the seminary.  It was a sacred moment that filled me with gratitude in seeing the broken Jesus here before me, both in the host and in John.

– Roy O’Neil msc

 

You can always pick an MSC!

Following Mass as a visitor in the Parish someone asked me if I was an MSC? I asked why such a question and received the response ‘you can always pick an MSC’!

I responded ‘is that a good thing or a bad thing?’ and received the further response ‘that’s very good’.

I felt great! Not just for myself but also for the recognition and acceptance of what being an MSC is all about.

– Philip Malone msc

 

 

 

Recently listening to a young man tell me the story of his journey with HIV and his response to me that he felt no judgement from me but simply listening/ warmth/ friendship and compassion. The young man felt respected and I felt a warmth for him that this was his experience.

– John Mulroony msc

 

 

 

I had the graced privilege to host one of our older MSC aged men to revisit his earlier location of ministry in the NT. This delightful MSC has inspired me to become an MSC Priest. I felt so excited to facilitate his return and meet people with whom he has journeyed earlier in his life. The reunions were wonderful.

– John Kelliher msc

 

 

I felt ministered to his openness and heartfelt honesty.

I was visiting men in solitary cells, easily the most daunting part of my pastoral time in prison, when in the midst of trying to get through everyone to check out on them, I was stopped in my tracks by a guy in the cell who thanked me profusely for coming to visit him, and that he always looked forward to such a time when the chaplain(s) would come through.

Something like this rarely happens of course. We started talking more deeply and he shared about his family whom he missed dearly, and his Muslim faith that kept him sane behind bars.

As with most things unexpected, I found the moment to be grace-filled, one in which he offered hospitality to me even as I was just routinely checking up on him. I felt ministered to his openness and heartfelt honesty moving me to see beyond him as a prisoner, dare I say to see the Christ in him.

That day I felt I received more than I gave, and it renewed my passion for this work, and opened me up much more to a God of surprises.

– Kris Mathavan msc

 

 

I want you to be my father.

One afternoon towards the end of 2008, I was going for my daily walk around the streets of Tongren, China, when one of my students turned to me. She is not a Catholic, and in fact of no religion whatsoever.

She said, “Mr. McEnnally, I want you to be my father”.

Something had touched her in the message that we MSCs convey.

The really nice part, of course, was that she said “father” – not “grandfather”!

– Greg McEnally msc

 

 

Even if it meant telling God off and meaning it.

A feeling of great consolation came over me mingled with peace and joy when I was able to free someone from their fear of sharing with God how that person felt about dying. How it was for them to tell God that stage four Cancer ‘sucks’ and that God would want to hear that just how it is – even if it meant telling God off and meaning it.

The relief and joy I could read on that person’s face was going to be enough, I believe, to carry them on to the next moment of their life and to allow God to embrace them and for that person to finally embrace God.  It gave me hope and joy to consider my ‘dying’ time, the end of my beginning, can be full of the same type of honesty and forthrightness with God and that God’s heart would be ravished by my response.

– Dominic Gleeson msc

 

 

 

Do you think I am worthy?

Standing at the altar I sometimes find myself wanting to pinch myself: “Is this really true.” “Me – standing in Jesus’ shoes offering Him to his loving Heavenly Father.”

How blessed I feel. Setting out on a chilly Sunday morning on an outback road into the rising sun on 100km journey to celebrate the Lord’s Love with my brothers and sisters.’

A new building for respite care in a major hospital received its first its first patients. As chaplain, I made my rounds. I came across an old gentleman who could only shuffle slowly around the ward. He was dressed in pyjamas and old dressing gown.

I asked his name. He said: “Bill”. Not knowing what religion if any, I said would you mind joining me in a prayer. Almost inaudibly he joined the “Our Father”. I next prayed the “Hail Mary.”  He joined in. He was Catholic!

I asked if he would like to receive Holy Communion. He looked up to me and said: “Do you think I am worthy?” He then proceeded with this beautiful Prayer:

Old Bill’s Prayer

Jesus, I believe you are present in the Holy Sacrament.

I am sorry for having offended you.

I love you.

I desire you to come into my heart.

I unite myself to you and

pray that I may never be separated from you. Amen.

That was years ago… I pray to him today

– John Shelvey msc

 

 

 

The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.

I was called to the hospital one day to give a blessing to a stillborn baby girl.

When I got there all the family were there Mum and dad and their 3 children. When I blessed the baby who was in her father’s arms, he passed the baby to his wife who prayed a silent blessing and in turn the baby was passed onto her 3 siblings who also prayed a silent blessing. Then the father prayed out aloud:

‘The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.’ Then the whole family sang Amazing Grace (there was not a dry eye in the room.)

For me it was very much a graced moment and I was overwhelmed with this family’s incredible faith and trust in God at this most devastating time in their lives. it was an experience I will never forget. The good news is that 15 months later a healthy little girl was born – our God is so good.

– Terry Bowman msc

 

 

Participants on a Parrish Animation Teams course sharing their “River of Life” stories.

Feeling of awe and mystery that the life of each person in the room is a whole other world.

– Joe Ensing msc

 

 

On my first Marriage Encounter Weekend as team, I had a deep experience of being loved unconditionally by a presenting team couple, and I received the grace of realising that this is how God loves me.

– Doug Smith msc

 

 

 

This time, I was trying to be the Samaritan.

Just around 9pm last night, when I was on the way back to my community, I saw a young man, sitting on the pavement, holding his belly. I noticed him while I was passing to him. however, going further about 500 meters, the image of that young man struck my heart – he might need help.

I returned and came to his side and asked what was happening to him. he said that he have had  a trouble with his kidney for 5 days. He needs to comeback to his hometown for treatment but having not enough money. during his conversation, he shared that he came to HochiMinh City just one week ago to work as a shoe polishing man. When his pain started, he tried to work in order to get enough money to buy a bus ticket but it was not enough.

I’m happy that the last money left in my pocket just could be enough for the lacking; I gave him a lift to the bus station right away hopeful that he could get the earliest bus to his hometown.

It is just a simple work. I felt that I had a peaceful moment because I did all what I could do to him. I used to be the Priest and the Levite in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10, 30-35) passing by the needy on the road. This time, I was trying to be the Samaritan.

– Pham Ngoc Minh msc

 

 

 

 

 

He visibly blossomed in front of me.

I heard the confession of an 18 year old who had been interfered with when he was 8.  He had never been able to talk about it before, thought he was to blame, etc.

When he understood that Jesus looked at him with understanding, compassionate and forgiving eyes, that, if there was in fact any sin on his part, he was totally free of it now, he visibly blossomed in front of me.  I felt humbled and certain that I was an instrument of God.  I have never felt more MSC.

– Anonymous msc

 

 

 

God is something I have to had to re-learn as an MSC and re-affirm for myself.

I do pastoral work once a week with Catholic Care’s HIV/AIDS ministry.

Every year, a weekend retreat organised by the chaplain for those who come to the centre and for volunteers who help out at the centre.  I have being visiting the centre now for over two years and have gotten to know the “regulars” who come to centre and those that come to the yearly retreat.  Most of those that come to the centre are from the LGBT community.

During the retreat this year, there was one particular aspect that I found very moving, and that was the opening Eucharist.  There we were, in a small room, with an altar, and everyone seated around the altar in a circle.  As mass started, I noticed that from their body language and their responses to different parts of the mass, very few of those gathered were regular mass goers.  I also noticed from their responses that some had vague recollections of what was going on at mass (they probably have not been to mass for a very long time).

And there were others that sat there with blank/disinterested looks on their faces.  I assumed that they were either lapsed Catholics, belonged to other Christians denominations or had no religious affiliation at all.

After the gospel was read the priest presiding shared a reflection on Jesus as the example of service in washing his disciple’s feet.  He then asked everyone to share a thought, a reflection or prayer.

Most of the thoughts and prayers that evening centred around thanksgiving for family (especially for mothers!), their little community (of regulars at the centre) and for the work done by the chaplain and volunteers at the centre.

What struck me that evening as we gathered around the altar for mass, was that those gathered there were people we could still consider today as some of those at the margins of our society because of their lifestyle choice and the fact that HIV/AIDS is a disease that today still carries a bit of stigma.

When it was my turn to share a reflection on the readings, initially I felt a bit weary at the thought of having to share with these people my belief that that there is a God who loves them in spite of what some of their experiences of life, of Christians or religion might have been.  BUT I DID SAY IT! I said it because it is something that I truly believe.

This conviction that God is love and everyone is created by God and equally loved by God is something I have to had to re-learn as an MSC and re-affirm for myself.  For me this is a great leveller which also impels me to reassess how I relate with or view other people.  Something I will have to keep reminding myself and work on for the rest of my life!

– Iokimi Vunivesilevu msc

 

 

 

Don’t thank me – thank God.

I was involved with a PNG family with child suffering from meningitis – after much care the child was taken by boat to mainland hospital some hours away and I prayed the rosary on the way amid the rough seas – by the end of the journey there was a change for the better.

Some days later they came to me thanking me for the prayers.  I replied “Don’t thank me – thank God!!”

How did I feel ?  I gave praise to God and Our Lady for their doing.

– Michael Sims msc

 

 

 

Mate, you could bet your life on it.

I was called to the palliative care ward of the local hospital recently by the sister of a man who was dying.

When I got to the hospital the man really was not ready to see a priest. I talked with him for a while and discovered he was a past student of one of our colleges from many years ago, and so we shared a few stories about the priests and brothers who taught him and were in charge of the boarding house. Some were good memories for him some weren’t.

After a while I left him and said give me a call if you want to see me again.  A couple days later I received a call from him to come and see him. Apparently as I discovered, the first visit was an audition for his funeral.

I visited him a number of times and he received the sacraments and he gave me detailed instructions about his funeral. While he was in the palliative care ward of the hospital, two of his sisters were caring for him day and night during his last weeks and days. During these visits I met his sons and more than a few of his mates, who were a bit taken aback that he was on first name basis with a priest, and he would explain the MSC connection.

During our last conversation I said to him, “You know that God loves you” and he said in reply “Are you sure about that?”.

I said “Mate, you could bet your life on it”, he stared at me for a while then smiled and squeezed my hand and said, “I am”. He then closed his eyes as the painkillers did their job. I did not see him the next day but late that night his sister rang to tell me that he had passed away.

I felt it a humbled & privileged to journey with him, his family and friends during his last days.

– Mark McGuinness msc

 

 

 

A little story.

On two occasions in my life I have had the following experience. The persons concerned I met on pastoral work. Each from a different country.  On both occasions we were discussing spiritual matters, sitting at the dining table. I cannot recall the subject nor any of the words spoken. All I remember and very clearly is that the person concerned suddenly stood up and left the table. Not a word in explanation. After some time had elapsed he returned to the table and sat down. Then he said to me quite simply: you reduced me to tears- forgive me for leaving you. I had to go to the bathroom to dry my tears.  I didn’t know what to say. In fact I said nothing. Then he said something that really rocked me. He said: your voice…..so full of conviction and so genuine!!!  It all humbled me no end. All I could muster in reply was: thank you.

I still treasure both occasions- God simply used me for HIS OWN PURPOSES.

“Ignotus  MSC.”

– 0Bernie McGrane msc

 

 

 

Many moments e.g. of intimate and mutually vulnerable dialogue with penitents, then administering absolution with its unnameable peace – literally unable to be imagined – I have often felt awed, grateful, humbled, dignified, keenly aware of being without adequate personal (natural) resources; yet aware too of these being “Emmanuel moments”.

“Surely the Lord is in this place, and I [until then] did not know it [and I] was afraid and said… How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God and this is the gate of heaven” (Gen. 28:16, 17).

– Ed Travers msc

 

 

Yesterday I baptised a great nephew, as the family gathered to celebrate his presence and the gift that God has given us in Johnny the younger members of the family prayed for him with prayers of the faithful that revealed the closeness and love they have for him.

Just as the oldies we were proud of them, as a priest I was moved by their depth of trust and commitment to Johnny and God’s presence in his life.

– Paul Cashen msc

 

 

 

 

Have you told Him yet?

Returning to a parish where I had been years ago a lady met me after the weekly Eucharist and said: On this day my car had been stolen and I came to the presbytery to tell someone. You came to the door and said to me in response:

“Have you told Him yet?”

That changed my life.

I was grateful to her for reminding me to share my hopes, sorrows… with the Lord.

– John msc

 

 

 

 

How could you move on after a great fall in your life?

My apostolate area is Jesus’ community, a group of 8 to 12 unexpected-pregnant women living together under a roof, in Saigon.

One of the questions they used to ask me was “how could you move on after a great fall in your life?.” Most of them and so did I experienced vulnerability and brokenness, the ups and downs, rejection and violence, injustice and prejudice…

It’s not my business to have all the answers or solutions; and absolutely I cannot. We are always on the way. New lives are growing up in them and among them day after day.

Despite everything, they have been so brave to choose, to protect and bring up the seeds of life among the generation that prefers selfishness and abortion. That’s already a sacred ground where I am expected to take off my sandals to enter, sincerely to be a companion, to listen and to move on with them in hope.

I felt it was so meaningful for my life to be with those broken people like them.

– Toan Le msc

 

 

 

Because we all need trim.

I am spending my pastoral as a barber.

There was time, when I was cutting the hair of the little boy he asked me: “do you know why the hair of people grows up day by day?”.

He didn’t wait for my answer and said: “because God gave us scissors”. I asked him why? he told me: “because we all need trim”.

I was so amazed by his words. Maybe he could not understand deeply what he had said but for me it really touched me and my experiences.

– Nguyễn Đăng Sỹ msc

 

 

 

There was a house next to the new church in Wurrumiyanga, and one of the female occupants was very sick and might die.

I took her communion and anointed her and noticed that her bed was in a terrible state, with the thin foam mattress sagging through the broken wire frame.

I told her that I had a spare bed at home and asked if she would like it? She was grateful for the offer and accepted. So I went home and got the bed and as soon as I moved it in the room she lay on it and curled up on her side with a beautiful and peaceful smile on her face. She was now comfortable in her pain.

– Pat Mara msc

 

 

 

I was with a young mum I knew well whose 12 year old only child had hung himself on the back verandah of the family home.

I felt helpless. Unable to give to her my sense that God was with her at that time.

– Tim Brennan msc

 

 

One of the most beautiful moments I experienced was witnessing one of the couples that I know being reconciled after a time of misunderstanding and tension.

I prayed a lot when I know they had been experiencing some difficulties in their marriage. But when I actually witnessed how dialogue, humility and understanding brought them together again, and knowing that God was in the midst of all these with me, I felt joyful and deeply contented for this couple and I was marveling at God’s grace and loving power.

I hope that I might be a witness to God’s love and grace for people like this.

– Khoi Nguyen msc

 

 

Over the years I have been profoundly touched through letters written to me by people to whom I have earlier ministered while they lived through personal tragedy, loss or serious illness.

These letters, written months and even years later, invariably reflect on compassion experienced, hope sustained, faith reassured, and the difference in life that resulted. Most importantly, these letters recognise God’s grace in these moments of ministry, though this may not have been so evident at the time.

I am thankful to receive such letters, yet much more so to know how the love and mercy of God has graced people through my words and deeds.

– Stephen Hackett msc

 

 

I felt very honoured and privileged.

I had been ministering to an elderly Catholic Woman in hospital for some weeks. I told her I was going on leave for a couple of weeks. She wanted me to be there for her death and funeral.

I took my leave time but the moment I returned I was told she was asking for me. I went straight to her bed. The family had gathered. Her death was imminent.

From a state on semi-consciousness, she opened her eyes and said “Now I can go.” I anointed her though she could not take Communion. No sooner had I blessed her than she closed her eyes and went off to Heaven. I knew she had waited for my return. Any other chaplain could have anointed her but it was me she wanted. I was the celebrant for her requiem Mass and burial.

I felt very honoured and privileged. Her family has never forgotten this incident and they have often since invited me to the family table.

– Frank Perry msc

 

 

I recently said the requiem Mass and prayed the burial ceremony for the mother of a friend I have known and admired and worked with for many years. Her children and grandchildren and generations of in-laws I have known and worked with and celebrated with and cared for over many years.

It was so fulfilling to share in and help assuage their grief, and help celebrate a long life well lived.

– John Franzmann msc

 

 

After a year on Abemama building the school – Knowing that the effort and work was not mine, it was God at work. The same God that looked after me yesterday will look after me tomorrow.

– Colin Sinclair msc

 

 

Generally, I enjoy confessions, when I can affirm the goodness of people in Gods eyes, despite/maybe because of their sinfulness, and help them come to a new God like way of looking at themselves: singing their own Magnificat daily.  This makes me feel unworthy, but also God-like somehow.

– Vince Carroll msc

 

 

What an abundant, trusting reply.

A few days ago I baptised a 3 year old who is having treatment for a serious case of cancer, and her mother.  They were both full of life.  When the ceremony asked “what do you ask of the church for …?” I expected the response “baptism”.

However, the mum said, “we want to know God, we want to have God’s support in our lives, and to know that we are being held by something much bigger than ourselves especially in difficult times.”  What an abundant, trusting reply.  Given the difficult road ahead for them and the child’s father who was there also, one would expect that they were wanting baptism so they’d have God on side if things got worse.  But this little family knew that things might not get better, and the parents were very realistic about the possibility they might lose their beloved daughter.  They wanted to walk through whatever each moment held with the sense that God was right there with them, for better or worse.

Me, I was deeply moved by their trust and surrender, their courage and vulnerability in it all.  I felt so enriched by my short time with them that it remains in the forefront of my thoughts and heart several days later, and it has moved me to pray continuously for healing for the little 3 year old since.  Please join me in that intention.

A post-script – the daughter passed away in 2015, about three months after her baptism. Her Mother is still strong in her faith.

– Chris Chaplin msc

 

 

A time of being present to a person as they were healed of the crippling effects of a lifelong hurt.  A sense of being privileged to be present to a healing work of God.

– Paul Brennan msc

 

 

In saying a last farewell to a close friend, who was also a Religious Sister and was dying. Her smile amazed me. It was a beautiful sign of her trust in God and her gratitude for the blessings of life.

– Jim Littleton msc

 

 

 

As Our Lord says, Be like little Children.

I asked a committed middle aged Catholic would she invite Jesus to a special dinner at her home. In an embarrassed way she quickly replied in the negative as she feared that Jesus would do something or say something that embarrassed or upset her and the other guests. She hastened to add that she would happily invite Mary.

I then went into the school yard of a Parish school and asked 3 young sixth graders would they invite Jesus to their birthday party. They all said they would be delighted to have Jesus at their party as they would LEARN lots from him and it would be a privilege to have him present.

As Our Lord says, Be like little Children. I am always uplifted and given great hope whenever I reflect on this very ordinary incident. It reveals the presence of God in a warm and friendly way.

– Chris Murphy msc

 

 

 

To be on earth the heart of God.

There was an incident near our Canteen when a young student was on his own anxiously checking his wallet.

When I asked… He said he had $2 but seems to have lost it.  I realised he was relying on that small amount to eat something prior to the afternoon class.  I was moved with compassion and really felt for him. Thankfully I had saved a few coins in my office and was able to assist him.

That taught me how dependent are those entrusted to us… and something of what it means “to be on earth the heart of God”. I’m able to just walk into the Canteen any time, and my sandwich is always in the fridge lovingly prepared and labelled! I also feel “I don’t deserve this” and feel motivated even more to be of service and help towards the security of others.

– Terry Herbert msc

 

 

One simple pastoral moment that comes to mind was celebrating the Sacrament of the Sick at home with an elderly husband and wife. What moved me was their deep faith in their old age and how grateful they were for the fact that I would bring this sacrament to their home.

I just felt incredibly happy to be able to pray with two such faith-filled people; I somehow felt that they had renewed my own faith.

– Paul Browne msc

 

 

Celebrating class liturgies with early childhood children that are full of involvement and joy. My feeling was one of feeling high like an adrenaline rush.

– Bill Brady msc

 

 

 

My happiest time was when I was building in PNG and I really thought that I was helping the poorer people in that country and felt that I was really doing something for the Lord.

– Herman Koopmans msc

 

 

 

You just held her and let her cry and said nothing.

I remember it well.

A man had collapsed and died at the front gate of his home after work.  I was called to the hospital, anointed the man (he was still warm), prayed with the gather family.

Then the wife wrapped her arms around me and began to weep. I held her and just let her cry, feeling quite helpless to do anything else. Eventually, we were asked to leave. The following Sunday, after Mass at OLSH, a young man approached me, saying, “I want to thank you Father for what you did for my aunt at the hospital. We were all telling her not to worry, that uncle was in heaven and so on. You just held her and let her cry and said nothing. That’s what she really needed. Thank you Father.”

He shook my hand and walked away, leaving me stunned.

– Patrick Sharpe msc

 

 

 

There have been many moments. Accompanying people through difficulty; giving them educational opportunity; broadening their vision and stimulating them with ideas.

– Dennis Rochford msc

 

 

At the end of Life’s Healing Journey retreat I am amazed at the healing and transformation that takes place when people take an extended time of silence and contemplation. They are led into a deeper experience of God’s love for them and through God’s grace are able to face the hurts and losses of their life.

It always makes me feel privileged and humbled to be part of their journey. It also challenges me to continue my own journey of transformation and healing.

– Stephen Dives msc

 

 

I will never forget your kindness Father.

I noticed a young pregnant woman already mother of three, whose husband was away working, and I simply asked if there was anything I could do to help and she said I must have read her thoughts “Could you go to the supermarket and get this food for us?” No problem. I went, and then forgot all about it.

1O years later when I was appealing in Australia for my mission, a cheque for 1OOO dollars arrived sent by this young mother – with the words “I will never forget your kindness Father”.

– Russell Andersen msc

 

Increasing appreciation of the Eucharist/Mass, all the sacraments, home /hospital visitation. An appreciation and wonder at the holiness of the lay people.

– Arthur Stidwell msc

 

 

How to have a proper Evangelization

Last year I had a summer apostolate at a remote parish in Mekong Delta for 7 weeks. My main task was doing home-visit. The Christian population of the parish was about three and half thousand people. However, in fact, the biggest number of people attending Sunday Mass never exceeded three hundred people (around 10%). During monthly meeting of parish officers, I was reported the reality of the parish. Thanks to the report, I came to know the background of the parishioners as the following:

This parish located in the area under strict control of local communist government. It was very hard for evangelizing there. Fr. Peter was one of the first priests who came there and established the parish. He had a great love for the poor and a great zeal for evangelizing. He did so many good things for the inhabitants like building bridges and houses for the poor, giving scholarship for the poor students, establishing health care center, etc. Regarding evangelization, he laid down as policy the development of an increase in Catholic population by material things. He attracted people by giving them whatever they needed like rice, house, money, medicine, etc. At that time, many people came to him in order to have something they needed and to receive the Sacrament of Baptism after studying a very brief and simple catechism. He focused on quantity rather than quality with a belief that the Holy Spirit would take care of them. The year 2006 was the year of a rich harvest with more than three hundred baptized people. However, when parish officers conducted investigation in order to have an exact Catholic population there, the majority among the three hundred baptized people denied their faith. The percentage of the baptized people who were still practicing their faith so far occupied around ten per cent. Therefore, ninety per cent of the baptized parishioners were living outside the Church, which brought so many corollaries to the people and the Church as well.

The present parish priest found very difficult to deal with so many catholic couples living outside the Church without receiving the Sacrament of Marriage. He did try his best to bring one or two couple per year back to the Church. For him, perhaps, it would take him more than one hundred years to solve the problem.

I am always grateful to God for the experience. I do feel sorry for the baptized parishioners, especially those who are living outside the Church. I had a chance to visit some of them and came to know that most of them refused to attend the Mass with a belief that “God is present everywhere.” That was a sign of lacking the foundation of faith.

I do not know where the blame for this problem lies. However, I do learn a precious lesson of evangelizing. It was very good to help people to overcome their difficult condition. However, it should not be a main mean to attract people for receiving the baptism. For me, educating catechism and faith must be very important and essential matters for evangelization. I do believe that they would rather not to be baptized than to be baptized without being nurtured by the Church. This situation could be a good example for evangelization.

– Thang Nguyen Nhu msc

 

They need someone to stand with them, and to support them.

I’m Quang from Vietnam, a professed MSC for 6 years and I’ve done my pastoral work as a tutor for 6 years with the orphans as well. I love very much to share my knowledge, my presence and my heart to them.

I see I am able to make them feel valuable, happy, peaceful and joyful. I see the presence of MSC in Vietnam is very useful and meaningful because in Vietnam there are a lot of people like these unfortunate children. They need someone to stand with them, and to support them.

It really helps them to be confident and to overcome so many difficulties in this society. I see somehow I have done it. It really makes my life more helpful and meaningful as a MSC.

– Quang Vu msc

 

 

Beyond that he needed nothing.

Recently I joined another priest in visiting an Indigenous Camp to visit those living there.

We met Lawrence. To my mind he lived in shocking circumstances. Basically a corrugated iron shed, roof and walls, no toilet or washing facilities because there was no water or power for some kilometers.

In our conversation his only need that he expressed was supplies of leather, so that he could make leather belts and necklaces for others and to keep him occupied. Then he indicated that a lift back into town would be helpful.  Beyond that he needed nothing.

I felt humbled by his extreme circumstances, yet he remained ever courteous and thankful for the little we gave him.

– Frank Dineen msc

 

 

 

 

I accompanied him in his spiritual journey.

Often people tell me they feel special in my presence, never judge them. They experience a special kind of joy and peace after they speak to me.

I remember working in a Prince of Wales Hospital as a part time chaplain, met a patient who was so angry with the church for a donkey odd years finally reconciled to God. This transformation didn’t happen overnight. It was a gradual process. I accompanied him in his spiritual journey.

Often people write to me say, how much they miss my presence. Well, I attribute everything to our heart spirituality. On the subject of God’s love, there is one thing, which is difficult to understand by us humans, but which is absolutely essential to understand if we want to see reality from God’s point of view. So many great people have said devotion to the Sacred Heart is the most excellent, synthesis and perfect expression of our religion.

Let me summarize, in the words of the famous motto of Cardinal Newman,”Cor ad Cor loquitor” “Heart Speaks to Heart.”

I really feel am blessed, grateful, hopeful, relaxed, confident, passionate and worthwhile.

– Joshua Gopinini msc

 

 

 

I was engaged in spiritual conversation with a woman who was in a crushing life circumstance and feeling trapped.

When she discovered that the call of God to her was to freedom, life, growth and peace, and discerning the different spiritual movements within her, I was able to see the light of joy and relief and a newfound freedom in her. I felt a spiritual joy within me, and a sense that my own life had been worthwhile because of this one encounter.

– Mark Hanns msc

 

 

MSC is my Family.

One time after my pastoral work, on the way back to my Community, there was something inside that urged me to come back to my Community as soon as I could. That was a beautiful and meaningful moment for me. I really felt the sense of being loved and belonging to the MSC.

MSC is my Family. I am loved by my Brothers in the Community and more especially by the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Thanks God for calling me to be a missionary of His Son’s Heart on earth.

– Doan Danh msc

 

 

 

Then to my surprise he said yes.

Recently a person came to the office and asked if he could see a priest. At the time there wasn’t any priest around so I asked him what is it they he need? He replied was he just wanted to talk to a priest. I said to him that I am a brother to you want to talk to me. Then to my surprise he said yes.

In our conversation he shared with me his concerns and worries and at one stage he began to cry. As for me, I was feeling inadequacy and don’t know what to do.

At time I wished I could go and look for a priest in the community to listen to this person. But at the end of our conversation, I became aware that all that person need was someone to be able to listen to his story. I felt nervous and privileged at the same time that someone share with me his or her life stories.

– Tru Nguyen msc

 

 

 

Grateful to God for my education.

One of our ‘Cana’ community members, a man in his forties asked me to go with him to the Housing Commission as he had to sign a paper relating to the lease of his unit. When I agreed he was most grateful.

I could not understand why he was so effusive in his thanks. A few days later I arrived at his place and we both went together to the Housing Office. When the clerk gave him the papers (about fifteen pages) he said, “Give them to my friend he will read them,” then he went and sat down.

At that stage  I realised that he couldn’t read! I was ever so grateful to God for my education! I was grateful that I could help my friend.

– Peter Harvey-Jackson msc

 

 

 

To allow this simple man open his heart to me.

A parishioner, who was quite elderly and ill in hospital, phoned for me to visit. I went that very day, and I was surprised that what he wanted to do was tell me his story of what happened to him during the war and in the immediate after-war period.

I couldn’t hear everything he said, but it was clearly important to him that he told me. I listened to this very humble and ordinary man speaking of the hardships he went through, the friends he lost, and how God had brought him through. I felt so privileged to be there, and didn’t fully appreciate the significance of our meeting until later that day when I heard that he had died. I knew then that I was there for a purpose – to allow this simple man open his heart to me about that most painful period of his life. It was a truly human and priestly moment.

– John Rate msc

 

 

 

I was staying with a poor family in the south of Vietnam, not doing so much, but just simply being there with them. I felt happy to live with them though I could not do anything much there because of the restrictions of religious freedom in that area.

– Quay Tran msc