by Mary Lynn Murray.
Mary Lynn wrote these, her first impressions as the new director of MH Vancouver, last July. We’re a little late publishing it, but we think it’s too good for you to miss.
I arrived at this house five weeks ago, and what a whirlwind it has been, especially at first—of new friends, new names, new towns, new parishes, new everything except the spirit of Madonna House, which is the same here as it is in Combermere.
So, some first impressions: Relief as I sit in Good Shepherd Church and listen to the simple but beautiful daily liturgy celebrated by our pastor, Fr. Galvon. This is a liturgy and a parish and a priest that are clearly fed by a deep love of and fidelity to our Catholic faith and Church.
Continued relief as we visit other parishes on Sundays so that I can meet more people and get a sense of the wider Church family of this archdiocese, and discover there is no need to filter the words of the sermon or to wonder how many calls we might get after hearing questionable theology from the pulpit.
This is an archdiocese where the priests have been well-formed and well-supported in their priesthood, where these same priests speak lovingly and respectfully of their archbishop, and where the laity have been better catechized than I have ever seen before.
I suppose it is natural that from this deep love that I sense in this local church, a joy permeates the liturgies and the conversations we get involved in.
Fed by faithful pastors and given water from the Wellspring, people are realistic yet enthusiastic, optimistic and hopeful about life.
The diversity that the Church embraces is expressed here so beautifully. By my third week, I had met priests born in Vietnam, Hong Kong, China, India, the United States, and of course, Canada. Since then I could add a few more countries to the list, but I’ve stopped keeping track.
One Sunday at St. Matthew’s parish in North Surrey, the eight altar servers represented at least five ethnic backgrounds. Needless to say, the congregations reflect this same diversity.
Recently we were asked (yet again), "What do you do at Madonna House?" As I reflected on this perennial question and the struggle it often entails as we try to explain our life, I realized that truly our greatest gift to this archdiocese and to the world is our life of prayer.
Somewhere between relief and joy, I have come to experience the depth of love poured out upon all whom we meet, all whom we hear about, and all whom the Lord brings to our home and our hearts to pray for—simply through the fact that we do pray for them.
The simplicity of this reality can make it seem an inadequate answer to the question of what we do, yet there can be no more powerful work being done.
And perhaps it is even more powerful for being so hidden a gift.
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