Hi, my name is Fr Pat and I am the parish priest of Bathurst Island, one of the Tiwi Islands. I belong to the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart and my congregation has a long and proud history all over the Northern Territory (NT). I was ordained by the best bishop in the world (Bishop Eugene Hurley of course!) in my hometown of Sydney in 2014 and am very excited to be going on pilgrimage as the chaplain of the Darwin Diocese.
Pilgrimage is a spiritual journey focused on deepening one’s faith and beliefs. As you may know Pope Francis declared this year to be the Year of Mercy, so it is only fitting that the theme of World Youth Day Kraków is “Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy” Mt 5:7. And likewise, Poland is a fitting place to hold this WYD as it is the country where Divine Mercy originated with St Faustina, who was much loved by the great Saint John Paul ll.
I’m really grateful for the opportunity to go on this pilgrimage because mercy is something which is very deer to my heart. Both as something which I have personally experienced in my life which has led me to where I am today, and something which I pray I can bestow on those I minister to. We all need mercy and Thomas Merton (a Trappist monk, 1915-1968) wrote “God is mercy, within mercy, within mercy” The Sign of Jonas. It is a pretty deep statement which is basically saying that with God, there is only mercy. And that is good news for us because we can approach God without fear, knowing that God only loves us.
So I hope you will join us on a pilgrimage of love and mercy, and encourage anyone you know to journey on pilgrimage. They are transforming times in our lives which have a very positive impact on our being.
Fr Pat msc
To learn more about the Tiwi Islands where Fr Pat Mara lives, visit http://www.australia.com/en/places/nt/tiwi-islands.html