Fr Joshua Scott: 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
I love being a priest. Having just celebrated my second ordination anniversary I have had an opportunity to reflect on what my second year in priestly ministry has looked like. What a year! Let us begin with the highlights of 2019. Firstly, I give thanks to God for the gift of journeying with people within my various ministries. From our parishes to the hospitals. From our schools, youth and young adults ministries to our nursing homes. From baptisms to funerals, it has been a tremendous year of walking with people in every aspect of life. That will always be a highlight of my priesthood and it is such an honour.
Particularly noteworthy highlights have been the blessing of the ACT State Emergency Services fleet; Youth outreach initiatives within our parish such as Youth Alpha, the Immaculata Mercy Night and the Central Canberra Mt. Ainslie pilgrimage and summit mass supported by the Servants of Jesus community, not to mention serving with our migrant communities and our ecclesial movements. Again, it is with these consolations that I really love being a priest.
I have also returned to part-time study and, amazingly, my marks have come back very positively! I have a great sense of personal achievement with this, as I am not a ‘natural’ academic.
Like any vocation, the priesthood is not all consolation, it has its ‘ups and downs’. Stress, deadlines, meetings, administration, computer systems not working, and lack of sleep are desolate features that we all face in life. These are the day-to-day desolations.
Having said this, one of my key desolations would have to be discouragement that I have received from fellow Catholics in recent times. With the Pell case continuing and having received the findings of the Royal Commission last year, it has been downright tough being a Catholic, let alone a priest. We are all hurting in our own way with these things. Some, in ways I would never seek to imagine. I honestly and wholeheartedly pray for justice and healing for the church, and for those who are profoundly impacted by these situations. I love being a priest who loves and serves God’s people in the midst of this.
With all this in mind, I have been reminded that there is always great hope in Christ. That despite the darkest of nights that we may face, the oncoming dawn is on its way, and the Son will rise. It is with this hope that I look to 2020. Christ will continue to walk with us next year as he has this year. I look forward to the surprises that await, the beauty and truth of God that I’ll encounter and the amazing people that I will journey with on the pilgrimage that 2020 will be.
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.