GROVELY-based Deacon Peter McDade often told the couples who came to him for marriage preparation that there were three parts to a person’s persona that needed to stay in balance to live joyfully – the physical, the psychological and the spiritual.
He said the first two were readily accepted by most people, but the third was often “dismissed and not looked after”.
“The Christian Gospel and, the Catholic Church has so much to offer to assist spiritually, particularly in times of trial that without it, we tend to become a bit unbalanced in our overall life persona,” he said.
And in a time of trial, as families were forced to stay at home and unemployment numbers soared under coronavirus restrictions, Deacon McDade was opening up one of the Church’s greatest tools – proclaiming the Word.
People had been contacting him and telling him of their “grief” being unable to go to Mass because of a deadly and invisible microorganism.
He said people had messaged him and said they were “really struggling”, speaking to a spiritual hunger in the community.
“I miss it, too, there’s no question,” Deacon McDade said.
One person had suggested to him to put his homilies online and his daughter, The Catholic Leader’s 2019 Volunteer of the Year Donna Power, set up a Facebook page for him to do so.
His first homily online reached about 400 people.
“And I’m just a nobody,” he said with a laugh.
He said the Blessed Sacrament was “fed with the Word and the Word is equal in importance” because God was present in the Word as Jesus Christ was present on the altar.
“So while (people) can’t receive Eucharist (in lockdown), they’re at least reaching out to hear the Word,” Deacon McDade said.
“Hopefully, and I’m not saying this in any false humble way, hopefully what I offer will reach some people and give them some consolation and spiritual encouragement to see this through.”
He was particularly concerned for people who lived lonely lives like elderly people, homeless people or disabled people.
He said the grief Catholics felt being away from the Eucharist was a call to empathy for those who already lived their lives in pain.
“We hardly turn a thought to them,” he said.
“It’s a blessing and a calling by the Holy Spirit to challenge us in this time to say how much do you really appreciate what you’ve got?
“It’s a blessing from the Holy Spirit for us to respond to this challenge in a way that Christ would respond.
“We can’t be Christ, but we can try to love as Christ loved.”
Deacon McDade’s homilies can be found on his Facebook page, the Grovely parish Facebook page or on the Grovely Samford and Mitchelton parish website.