Fr Ken Barker: Looking back on 2019
So this is Christmas and what have you done?
Christmas is a time for reflection, so the Catholic Voice asked twelve prominent Catholics to share their thoughts on 2019
Highlight of 2019
The Light to the Nations pilgrimage by the Disciples of Jesus Community at Bowral over Easter attended by 1000 people. Many young people gave their lives to Jesus which is such a precious moment.
A professional achievement
In August, I blessed the new MGL Retreat Centre in Flores, Indonesia. We also opened the Arete Centre for Missionary Leadership in Sydney which will help equip lay people for ministry.
A personal achievement
I am grateful to the Lord for 18 young MGL priests who are under 10 years’ ordained.
Something I have learned
I visited our MGL mission in Manila, Philippines. Walking among the poor in the slums of Payatas is good for my soul. I was particularly moved meeting an aging man in his little hovel no bigger than our bathroom. His smiling welcome fed my impoverished heart. I was glad to hear that we were renovating his little ‘house’.
A news event that affected me
I have felt deeply the ongoing pain of victims of sexual abuse by clergy. As a new congregation, it is challenging for the MGL to put in place what is needed to create a safe environment for children and young people but we are confident we have the heart and competence to do it.
How I approach 2020
I am aware of the need to ask “Why?” in relation to the six MGL missions under my care. Too often we ask “how do we do it?” or “what must we do?” forgetting to ask why we are doing it. I want to focus more on why we exist.
In the 12 days leading up to Christmas, we will be sharing daily reflections looking back on 2019. You can find the other reflections here.