Good afternoon or good arvo for those of you in Australia!

Here I am in Split where I have been now for one year. As the Holy Spirit prepares us to leave I reflect on it all!

As a little boy I made my first Holy Communion in the parish of Crusheen in Ireland’s county Clare. I guess I was about 7, I’m not sure!

My mum had me dressed in a mini suit with a dicky bow! I never liked getting dressed up like that so I can imagine the trouble I caused mam!

Everyone in the class was given a little job to do! Mine was to go around during the offering and offer everybody the sign of peace! This was to symbolise missionaries being sent out!!

Now I have read the lives of many of the saints who were yearning to make their Holy Communion so that they could receive Jesus into their hearts. This was not me!!

I was indeed yearning to make my communion so that my aunties’ and uncles’ would give me money and that afterwards I could eat lots of chips at the hotel where we’d go afterwards!

And indeed I did fill my belly in Sullivan’s Hotel in Gort county Galway!

Did I even believe in Jesus at the time? I honestly don’t know but I guess what I do know now is that Jesus believed in me!!

I guess I could look back and see God’s hand in me being a little missionary running around the church and shaking people’s hands at age 7.

Little did I know he’d have me running around the world years later!!

And so here I am at 36 getting ready to leave! It is always stressful. You make friends and then bang, you are gone. All the wounds of the past come up to visit you! Doubts, anxieties, regrets! Many find my way of life difficult to accept and to understand and that can be painful to watch and at times the greatest pain of all is having very little money and trusting blindly in the grace of God and the generosity of others to survive!

So today I think of how carefree my 7 year old self was and I have my patents to thank for that as they spoilt him!

Perhaps in all of our lives if we look back we can see the hand of God when we didn’t even believe in God!

The saints all say that God is like a persistent lover, running after His loved ones!

As usual my departing is happening both quickly and unexpectedly. To some of you this will seem strange that I did not say goodbye yet do not let this make you think that I did not love and appreciate you. To others my departure will come as good news and this is ok too! May God bless you all regardless of which group you may fall into!

So dear friends, pray for me as the Lord guides. May I grow more in love and peace and be a true apostle of love as Our Lady so often speaks of in Medjugorje!

Have a blessed day

Michael