Fr Paul Marshall: ‘25 years of priesthood has been a great adventure’
|At the Parish Mass were Bishop Emeritus Bede Heather, who ordained Fr Paul in 1988, and seven other priests of the Diocese.|
By Virginia Knight, Catholic Outlook March 2014
Father Paul Marshall EV is a man with his eye on the heavens but his feet firmly planted on the ground, and his mind well in tune with the rhythm of the world around him.
On 19 November 2013, the Parish Priest of St Anthony of Padua Parish, Toongabbie, and Episcopal Vicar for Evangelisation and Pastoral Planning, celebrated the silver jubilee of his ordination to the priesthood.
On 24 November, Bishop Emeritus Bede Heather, who ordained Fr Paul in 1988, and seven other priests of the Diocese of Parramatta joined in a parish Mass and celebration afterwards.
“Leading up to the 25-year celebration I had some quiet days on my annual retreat with reflection on those amazing years of my life; but not just my life, God’s life in me,” Fr Paul said.
“It has been a great adventure into the mix of my human experience and my encounters with God in those experiences; also being challenged in my priestly mission to learn from other cultural faith traditions and to recognise my own giftedness to Christ in the Holy Spirit wherever I am.
“When I think of 25 years of priesthood, what I remember most are the simple profound moments where faith was expressed in moments with a tear of joy or grief.
“Joy comes through making tangible the infinite love of God through a kind word, a hug, holding a hand and above all listening to another’s story.”
Faith in Our Future
|Fr Paul: “… priests and parish teams need to be prepared to explore people’s giftedness …”. Photo: Virginia Knight |
The Diocesan Pastoral Plan, Faith in Our Future, which was launched in February, includes plans for parish renewal and revitalising the role of parish councils.
“We are hoping to ramp up the visionary role of parish councils so that parishes can re-dynamise, especially in the areas of welcome, families and youth and do more in embracing the multicultural dimensions of our parishes in our celebrations.
“Rather than just toddling along, Faith in Our Future will help parishes, agencies and chaplaincies to set a new vision with action flowing from that.”
Fr Paul said the way to do this is through creating a culture of discipleship and outreach to those disconnected with the Church.
“We need to pro-actively go out and look for the newcomer to Mass or the stranger, to offer a welcome, to listen to people’s stories and to reconnect in goodwill and faith at the coalface of people’s lives.”
Like the apostle Andrew we need to bring Peter to Jesus. Who are the ‘Peters’ in our life? Maybe it is a spouse, a sibling, a daughter, relative or friend.
Read full story at the Catholic Outlook siteVisit the Faith in Our Future site
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