Ted Kennedy’s presence in my life since I first met him at Mass in Redfern in 1979 has been one of great joy and fun with the odd anxious moment caused by his stubborn refusal to surrender to the dictates of modern healthy living….lettuce, greens (Wappo food) and the odd bit of exercise
But it is Teds spiritual `exercise” that has given me the greatest joy and indeed hope and courage in an otherwise alien and misogynistic institutional Catholic Church. Teds presence in Redfern has been a great gift … Continue reading
St Vincent’s community, how does one encapsulate a lifetime of experiences that captured my heart, my imagination my beliefs and my commitment to justice, in a few words? When I came to Redfern I was looking for a church where I could worship. I found instead a life-changing scene where every fibre of my being was challenged daily and still is by the unique people and events that have been part of my journey.
The gospel message that was lived in the community of Redfern was shared with the world beyond. I first met Ted Kennedy in 1970 when he came to Queensland to give a pre-ordination retreat. That encounter changed my life.
By living in Redfern Ted had begun to view the world from the perspective of the excluded. When he shared the gospel from that perspective old beliefs were destroyed and new ones were born. After seven years of study, during those few days, the gospel lived in a way I had … Continue reading
When we first came to Sydney from Adelaide in 1968 several of our friends gave us advice about the Catholic Church in this city. In particular:
- to understand the Sydney Church read Tom Kenneally’s Three Cheers for the Paraclete; and
- make sure we get to know Ted Kennedy, if we wanted to see the Church as it really can be.
Many years ago I spent a little time in Thailand. I had gone there to try to enter, at least in some small way, into the extraordinary inner peace and serenity which, years earlier, I had experienced when, for the first time, I had entered a Buddhist temple. Now, several years later, among the many temples I visited in Bangkok was one which specially intrigued me – Wat Phra Keaw – the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. According to my guide, this particular temple had been built at the time of King Mongkut.
The Man and the Philosophy
As is often the case, the philosophy comes before the philosopher. If the thoughts and words and actions of the person are such that they touch the very essence of our conscience and spirit, then we are led to seek the source of the wisdom. If we see around us people living the philosophy and sharing the great gifts of God’s presence in their lives, then we are drawn closer by their example to the source of the inspiration.
Sharing the Eucharist with Ruth then aged four when she asked "Could she have some special bread too” (at Neutral Bay and the mafia reported you to “the cathedral”.
Standing so many traditional Gospel interpretations on their head and making of them contemporary and pertinent sense.
Praying the psalms in the chapel of the old convent building amidst the shouts of desperation emanating from the drunken chaos of the lives of people in the darkness below is a memory that stays with me to this day. This was the world of poverty and tragedy which Mum Shirl invited me to share. I was then a naïve 21 year old Marist Brother. This was a world I knew nothing about. It was at once frightening and welcoming, depressing yet energising. While Mum Shirl was around I felt safe, as though things could … Continue reading