So, today is the day that 50 per cent of the friars are moving to new friaries and appointments. Behind the scenes, a lot of work has been done in preparation for today. For example, friars who are taking up work in a new place will have secured documentation from diocesan bishops, and the relevant organisations (parishes, chaplaincies etc.) Cars and vans are arriving and leaving with belongings. Gone are the days of “Take nothing for your journey, neither staff nor haversack…” Now it's just the laptop, cell phone, and books… what would St. Francis of Assisi say about this 'twenty-first century seraphic logistics'?
Over the years, I’ve seen friars pack their bags and move on. It’s a humbling experience to witness men say yes to whatever the Lord is asking of them. I am mindful on one friar, Fr. Bruno, now gone to God. A former missionary, he moved from Zambia, where he gave the best years of his life, back to Ireland. He didn’t have great health in the end but he always said ‘yes’ to God. I was with him when he died and as he waited for death he was quite honest in saying he looked forward to meeting the Lord. He was even excited about it and he smiled all the way into heaven.
By supper time this evening, friars will be settling into their new surrounds. For others, we have been asked to remain for another term. It’s what we professed when we took our vows. No matter what four walls are around us, we try to be faithful to living out the Gospel call of Jesus Christ after the manner of St. Francis.