• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐
    圣福若瑟神父

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动
    圣杨生•爱诺德神父

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Friday, 25 September 2015 09:25

Warm welcome helps Fr Raja settle into parish life

Fr-Raja---350As a recently ordained missionary priest from India, Fr Kommareddy Rajasekhar Reddy (Fr Raja) says he is on a big learning curve – arriving in Australia and taking up his first appointment in a parish – but says the welcome of the people is helping him adjust to his new life.

Fr Raja has been appointed as Assistant Priest at St Agatha’s Parish, Pennant Hills in Broken Bay Diocese, and says the parishioners and parish staff, Parish Priest Fr Paul Durkin, and the Diocese, have been wonderful to him since he arrived.

“I come from a different cultural background, but the people are welcoming and show a lot of concern for me,” he says.

“They’re loving people. They come up to me and ask questions about spirituality and the Bible and they reflect and try to find meaning for their life.

“It’s very much a learning experience for me and I have to keep myself open to all this new learning. I am very grateful to Fr Paul for everything he is doing to help me settle in to parish life here at Pennant Hills and to do the best I can.”

Fr Raja, who was born and raised in India’s Andhra Pradesh Province, in the village of Rentachintala, joined the Divine Word Missionaries while still a teenager, with the encouragement of a local SVD priest and the loving support of his family. He took his first SVD vows on June 8, 2007, his final vows on January 2, 2013, and was ordained a priest on January 9, 2014.

“When I knew I was coming to the AUS Province, I was interested to work with the Aboriginal people and migrants and refugees in Australia,” he says.

Instead, his first assignment was to a suburban Sydney parish.

He admits his arrival in Australia has included both inculturation and some culture shock.

“One of the first things I did when I arrived was to drive to Brisbane with my confrere Fr Elmer Ibarra SVD,” he says.

“On the way, Elmer stopped for lunch at McDonalds. I had no idea what to order. I had never seen McDonalds before. So, in the end, I just picked something off the menu and hoped it was ok.”

It ended up being a children’s meal, which didn’t do much to fill Fr Raja up.

“I was still hungry!” he laughs. “So that was my first big culture shock – McDonalds.”

Fr Raja spent four months working in Macquarie Fields parish before receiving his current assignment to Pennant Hills, and says it was a wonderful intercultural immersion.

Now, at St Agatha’s, working with Parish Priest Fr Paul Durkin, he is having to adapt to diocesan life, after his long years of formation within a religious society.

“There are challenges,” he says. “The way we function here is different to what I’m used to and so I see my role at the moment as being to listen and learn. It’s about learning the system and seeing how things are done.

“At the same time, I still have to be who I am and, a very big part of who I am is that I am a Divine Word Missionary. I belong to a religious community and I have a mission outlook. So I have to find ways of being who I am while still fitting in with the parish and the diocese.”

Fr Raja says his life so far in the SVD has prepared him well for the intercultural exchange he is now experiencing.

“In our Society there are members from every country and being with these people has opened up my mind and my boundaries so much. Living this way helps me to go out and meet different people from different places in a completely open way, and to learn from other cultures.”

For the immediate future, Fr Raja says he is concentrating on building up a relationship with the St Agatha’s parish community and fulfilling his responsibilities as best he can.

“What I really want to do is to be with the people in their struggles,” he says. “So, I find ways to visit nursing homes and hospitals in my free time, as well as in my official capacity with the parish.

“The social needs are not as great here as they are in India, but there are so many people who need a touch of love, especially the elderly, so that’s what I hope I can do as a missionary.”