Michael Scott, Local Minister SFO

I shall try to give an overview of what it is possible for a lay person to do in 2003 in the Diocese of Broken Bay and nearby.

1. My day begins with a cassette of music from Sr. Briege O'Hare O.S.C. and meditations set to music from:- Mechtild of Magdeburg, Julian of Norwich, St. Clare and others.

2. I then drive to St. Ives, Corpus Christi Cathedral, where I either have a short walk or I meditate on the Stations of the Cross in the Cathedral visiting room where the light also brightens the crucifix behind the altar. A friend and I then say the Morning Office at 5.30 a.m.

3. It is possible to attend Mass at various locations - approximately seven churches from 6.30 a.m. at St. Ives to 5.15 p.m., with the Jesuits at Canisius College, Pymble.

4. Eucharistic Adoration is available at Chatswood church from 9.30 a.m. to 12.00 noon, Monday to Friday, and at St. Ives every Thursday morning.

5. On the 8th day of every month at Mary MacKillop Chapel, North Sydney containing the tomb of Blessed Mary MacKillop there are four special Masses which are very well attended.

6. Each Tuesday evening, a Rosary Group from Chatswood Parish meets for a Home Rosary. This is surely comprised of a "United Nations" of Asia - approximately twenty attendees, and is supported by the Daughters of Divine Zeal.

7. Rosary, Reflection and Benediction occurs at West Killara church on the first Friday of every month at 7.30 p.m. and is a very spiritual occasion conducted by Fr. Paul Cahill. Approximately twelve people attend.

8. I usually attend a weekend silent Retreat once a year at the Carmelite Monastery at Varroville - meditations on St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and many others. This is where I discovered St. Francis. There is a book stall at the monastery. An annual Corpus Christi Parish Retreat is held at Canisius College, Pymble, which is organised by Fr. Guy Carlson SJ and Ed Dearn, Parish Spirituality Director.

9. There are Spirituality Days arranged by the St. Vincent de Paul Society with fellow Vincentians from all over N.S.W sharing their spirituality and these are held two or three times a year and are a wonderful way of learning just how spiritual these many good people are.

10. Fortnightly meetings of the St. Vincent de Paul Conference at Lindfield discuss the spirituality of Blessed Frederic Ozanam and St. Vincent de Paul or St. Louise de Marillac and other founders.

11. There are monthly spiritual meetings held by the Secular Franciscan Order with reading and meditations from St. Francis and St. Clare at the West Pymble Church. And I also attend monthly meetings of a Korean group of twelve people who wish to become Secular Franciscans. Although most of these people only speak Korean, they are very kind and spiritual and are studying a book titled "Catch Me A Rainbow Too" by Lester Bach, O.F.M. Cap., of which I have an English translation.

12. My wife and I are catechists for Years 7 and 8 at St. Ives High School, where we teach Catholic Scripture, and these can be spiritual occasions which also test our knowledge and broaden our understanding of the many facets of Christianity as taught to the students---the courses are prepared by the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine at Broken Bay .

13. We also take Communion to sick parishioners who are house-bound in St. Ives and this experience is very spiritual as we share our faith with those who are suffering from terminal illnesses and very much need our support. I should mention here that part of the St. Vincent de Paul work is also to visit the sick, lonely and housebound, some of whom are indeed very spiritual people.

14. We are involved in dialogue with Turkish Moslems at Auburn on the similarities and differences between Islam and Christianity, which has been very enlightening and respectful. I quote the Koran: "The True Servants of The Merciful are those who walk humbly on the earth and say 'peace' to the ignorant who accost them."

15. I am attempting to bring about dialogue between the Catholics and our Jewish brethren at St. Ives, but I am having little success. There are two schools side by side.

16. I currently use the following books for meditation:

A Little Book of Francis of Assisi;

The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas à Kempis;

Jesus the Word to be Spoken - prayers and meditations from Mother Teresa;

Collected Poems of St. Thérèse of Lisieux.

17. St. Teresa's Bookmark:

Let nothing disturb you,

Let nothing dismay you,

All things are passing.

God never changes.

Patience attains

All that it strives for.

He who has God

Finds he lacks nothing.

God alone suffices.