SUNDAY Sep 14th – Holy Cross Day
I have been back 10 days now. Life is back to normal, & I have caught up with all those who are sick & my “shut-ins”. September is a time to plan for the next 6 months & start our programs. Stewardship month will soon be upon us, concluding with All Saints’ Day, which is 6 weeks away. I am still feeling relaxed & going at a slower pace – I think! My 1st Sunday back (Sep 7) was wonderful. The choir were also back, & were magnificent.
Sunday Sep 14th was Holy Cross day. It’s a great day for SSC priests. The High Mass was beautiful. I was thrilled to have a old friend from seminary, Fr Andrew Duncan, with us in the sanctuary at High Mass. There are some gr8 pics by our parish photographer, John Gray, on the parish website. My sermon will be on this website as well as the parish one.
SUNDAY Sep 21st
This week I will be away, taking the final week of my annual leave. Holidays we call them in Australia – vacation here in the US! Tonight I fly to Australia, landing in Melbourne on Tuesday. Every year I have gone back to Australia at the end of September (except in 2005, when I had my major surgery) to see the AFL Grand Final. For Americans, this is the Aussie Rules Grand Final, always in Melbourne (www.afl.com.au). I am fortunate to be able to get a ticket – like the Super Bowl, they are like gold! Last year my team (Port Adelaide) was in it & got thrashed. This year it is 2 Melbourne clubs, so Melbourne will have a gr8 atmosphere all week.
I will be in Adelaide – my old home town – on Wednesday & Thursday, & in Melbourne the rest of the time. I return to San Diego on Tuesday 30th. 8 days is sufficient to see family & friends & do things. It is not nearly enough time to see everyone I would like, of course. I hope they all understand! This week also marks 5 years since I left Melbourne for San Diego. Every time I go back to Melbourne I am amazed at its growth & changes. It is a wonderful city. Not that I am homesick…as long as I can visit every year for the footy
THURSDAY Sep 25th
Arrived in Melbourne on Tuesday morning. Unusually for me, I did not sleep well on the flight. Picked up hire car & visited various people, incl getting my ticket for the AFL Grand Final on Saty! Had lunch with Jim & Val Fraser (yummy home-made sausage rolls!). At 4 pm I returned the car & went to the wonderful city unit that friends Dale & Ian have kindly made available to me. It has a wonderful view of St Patrick’s cathedral – esp at night. Had drinks with Katrina (a friend thru my Auntie Betty) & then hit the sack at 8.30 pm. Woke up at 2.45 am – but went back to bed & slept until 6.45 am. Wonderful!
On Wed morning I flew to Adelaide. It is an interesting experience returning to my home town. I first left here in 1974, when I went to London on a working holiday. I returned 18 months later, & began studying for the priesthood. In 1985 I moved to Melbourne, & have been more indentified with that city than Adelaide. Like many others, Adelaide was a wonderful city to grow up, but life’s adventure took me out into the wider world. It still does. When I return my memory goes back to my youth & experiences of 40 years ago. My enduring connection is my beloved Port Adelaide Football Club!
After settling in I visited Rosemary (who has visited San Diego) for a/noon tea. Had supper with an old friend of 40 years. Thursday I slept until 6.45 am again! Visited good friends from my 1st parish & had lunch with my cousin, Noelene. Flew back to Melbourne late a/noon. Friday I have a few people to catch up with & the parade of the 2 AFL teams thru the city. In the evening I am going out with my oldest friend, David Hunt. Saty is the AFL Grand Final 😉
MONDAY Sep 29th – Michaelmass
What a wonderful Saturday I had. Melbourne turned on glorious Spring weather for the Grand Final & the city had a real buzz. The stadium was packed with 100,012 spectators. There were ordinary supporters everywhere, & few of the corporate crowd, with the yellow & brown of Hawthorn predominant. And what a game…..really tight & close up to 1/2 time, with Hawthorn running out winners – much to everyone’s surprise.
One of the things I enjoy about visiting Melbourne is that I can go to different churches that I never had the opportunity to when I was at St Mark’s. This Sunday I went to Christ Church, Brunswick. This used to be one of the leading parishes in Melbourne, tho a little snobbish. It used to have good liturgy & music, but I was disappointed with both. And there were only 35 at the High Mass. Hard times for them, as is the case in many Australian parishes these days. After Mass I had brunch with Helen & Steve in a typical Melbourne cafe. Melbourne is famous for its cafes, & they all serve good, fresh food & gr8 coffee. Then it was a/noon tea with a couple that I married in 2001. They lived in SF for a year, & we have kept in contact. She is now expecting, which is wonderful! In the evening John Thorne – who visited All Saints’ in May – took me to dinner in a city restaurant on the 35th floor of a hotel. Wonderful views of the city & the bay. As the sun set & the city lights came on Melbourne looked lovely. No wonder I loved living here & keep returning.
Monday I went to Mass & then had lunch with Fr Tim Gibson. Tim was in seminary with me & has a suburban parish that seems to be doing better than most. I am sure his parish would be surprised to hear that he was part of our rosary group at seminary! It was good to see him after quite a few years, & catch up on news & our situations, etc. Monday night a farewell dinner with 2 friends. On Tuesday I go to the airport at 8 am. I am always excited when flying somewhere! My flight leaves at 11 am, via Sydney & LA, arriving in SD at lunch-time on the same day. It has been a good visit, but it will be good to get back home 🙂