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
The thing about St Vincent‘s Parish is that it is not a “parish” which can be understood as an area within which Catholics living there are served. Perhaps Redfern is more adequately described as “community’, for a community is a group of people bonded together with a certain focus. Members are not necessarily connected geographically.
I walked from one end of Redfern St to the other. I was a visitor from the Bush. I decided to settle down in Stirling Street, Redfern with my two sons Lenny (31/2) and Keith (12 months).
I was lonely.
For all of us, this collection of thoughts and reflections is in part a way of naming some of the spirit of Ted Kennedy and his effect on this Redfern community; it will also say more about us individually and as a community. Putting pen to paper implies care about what has been, a desire that future generations have access to contemporary witness, and perhaps more centrally we are compiling these stories and reflections at a time in our community when we are yearning for courage and inspiration. The paradoxical strength of this community was … Continue reading
I have been attending Mass at St Vincent‘s Redfern pretty consistently since 1983. Through my involvement with TCFA (A national Catholic university association) I had meet Ted Kennedy and had contact with his church at Redfern. Since leaving uni, I had lived and taught in the outer urban wilderness of Green Valley and in the underdevelopment of Sri Lanka. Returning to Sydney sick, I went to live with my parents and began going to church at the parish in which I had grown up. Each Sunday I would walk out feeling angry and alienated. It … Continue reading