By Dan Magill C.Ss.R.
My mission career, because of a memory lapse, got off to a memorable start. It happened in the cathedral at Lismore in New South Wales where I had embarked on my first mission with fellow Redemptorists, Frs Luke Fay and Richard Sellick.
After a big build-up to them, I vigorously proclaimed the importance of the Ten Commandments. And that’s when my memory lapse kicked in. I simply couldn’t remember them. If nothing else, the incident taught me to laugh and have a sense of perspective.
Speaking of perspective, I have always believed no parish is too small for a mission. I recall one mission in Durville Island, New Zealand, where there were just three homes. I travelled on a whaling boat that had no railings and was lashed to the mast by a leather belt. In this instance, forgetting the Ten Commandments was the least of my worries as a missioner!
Most of my missions have been in the country which suited me as I am a country boy. On missions I have slept in woolsheds, country pubs and farm houses. I was always at home with the people and I enjoyed the work. It has been a great privilege. I have witnessed the sacred places in people’s lives, the places where God touches them, and they God.
Instructing the people in the faith, urging them to repentance, and encouraging them to a fuller engagement with their faith and parish has been a privilege, for which I remain grateful.
I am presently stationed in Perth, Western Australia. In my mission work here I still delight in the surprises and in the magic they weave in our lives. And I am still good for a laugh.