|HOLY NAME CHURCH WAHROONGA 8.50 a.m. SUNDAY 4th March, 2012|
Twenty Five minutes before Mass the two car parks front and rear are rapidly filling.
But it is a different depression that has settled over the strong Parish of Holy Name Parish Wahroonga in Sydney's leafy Upper North Shore. The removal of the Priest who has so well restored Holy Name Parish to health over the last three years has been announced to facilitate Bishop David Louis Walker's alien proposal for Lay Leadership and a mere Priest Presence. Despite their earnest, vigorous and forceful opposition, they receive on arrival the Parish Newsletter announcing the Bishop's inflexible insistence.
Holy Name is a large Church but it is crowded with over 500 hundred parishoners who wish to honour and farewell their their beloved and devout Burmese Pastor whom the Bishop refuse to appoint as Parish Priest despite the fact that in effect, that is what he has been for three years, to the great relief and joy of the Parishoners.
As Father Martin processes in , the Church is filled with thunderous applause until finally Father indicates "Enough". He is a short man, softly spoken in very clear and precise English and very devout in his manner, with a serene countenance. The Mass began with the hymn "Here I am Lord" which Father said in his Homily was precisely his attitude he did not want to leave but if the Lord chose to allow it ,he was ready to go wherever God willed.In the development of his Homily , given the readings, the theme of obedience to God's Will was easily brought out. Abraham willing to do whatever God willed, St.Paul's assurance that if God is with us "who is against us". Ultimately the Victory is God's. We serve His Will. The Transfiguration strengthened the 3 Apostles Peter, James and John for the trials to come still they had to obey and not speak of the glimpse of Christ's Divine Glory allowed to them. All of these elements cried out to be related to the immediate circumstances.
When the marvellously devout celebration of Holy Mass was complete, three lay people - two men and a lady, made their separate tributes to Father Martin. How impressive they were:: outpourings of gratitude, love and appreciation for a Parish brought back from a position of crisis to a fresh and dynamic condition. Simple examples told the story - attendance of 15 people at Daily Mass raised to 60 over the 3 years. Fresh pastoral initiatives to the aged and the sick .The immense popularity of Father Martin among the children of the Parish. The restoration of the Parish's Liturgical life was yet another. After each speaker, once again, thunderous and prolonged applause rang out. Father then spoke of Wahroonga as OUR Home ( the supposed Aboriginal meaning of the word) he revealed his heartfelt gratitude to the Parishoners for adopting him so completely with their love and devotion and inspiration. He believed the Parish was a marvel of grace alive.He said he could not say "Good bye"for he would always be present in Wahroonga - Our Home; he would only say farewell and assure them that they were always in his prayers.
Then came the Final Blessing and Father was swamped by those at the front of the congregation. As he processed out the hymn "Christ be our Light was sung : "Christ......shine in our darkness.........shine on your Church gathered to-day."
At the main doors of the Church Father was embraced, hugged, kissed by the men and women of the Parish, many eyes were being dabbed with handkerchiefs and Father's hands were grasped and shaken and clasped and shaken : it was clear - any sane and faithful Catholic Bishop would give his all to have such a saintly beloved Pastor and Congregation as a building block in his Diocese.
|Swamped as he began to proceed from the Church, Father Martin, detached from the leading elements of the Procession, proceeds singing" Christ be our Ligh"t proceeds toward the Main Doors.|