PASSIONIST Father David King has bid farewell to Brisbane after 12 years as he begins a new chapter with his order ministering to seminarians from Vietnam to Melbourne.
He was farewelled by the Passionist community at the Australia Day Mass at the Fort at Oxley, where the Brisbane community is based, and said “the God of surprises” once again surprised him.
A woman who was part of the Fort worshipping community requested the Galilee Song be played at the Mass, only to find out Fr King had already chosen the music beforehand.
The woman said, “That’s okay, I just thought it would be so appropriate”.
So did the “God of surprises”.
Fr King’s sister, who had been invited from Sydney, offered a short speech at the Mass and said she wanted to quote a few lines from a hymn.
It was the Galilee Song.
“I was just totally surprised that she would quote that; she knew nothing of that conversation whether that hymn would be sung and that’s something I’ve seen so often,” Fr King said.
He had seen many moments of God’s presence like this throughout his ministry as a spiritual director in Brisbane.
“One of the things I wanted to do as a priest was to help people have a deeper experience of the God who has always made Himself present in my life,” Fr King said.
“I thought if I could share that with them in some way, that’s what I’d like to do as a priest, and in spiritual direction, that’s the way I’ve found the absolutely most incredible way of sharing that with people and helping people to discover it in their own lives.”
He said through spiritual direction, he got to see at a “much closer point of view the work of God in people’s lives”.
“Whether that’s in quiet intimate moments in their prayer, whether it’s in more exuberant liturgical celebrations – in their joys and also in their sorrows,” he said.
“It’s amazing how often once people search for God, they find that God is very near.”
Fr King said he would miss the relationships he built through his spiritual direction ministry and the people he met at the Fort, and at Masses at St Stephen’s Cathedral.
He first became involved with St Stephen’s when he asked Brisbane Auxiliary Bishop Ken Howell, who was then dean of the cathedral, if he needed any assistance.
Since then, his ministry there has become a mainstay on Tuesday and Sunday nights.
He said it had been a privilege to journey with people in the Sacrament of Penance there and the Sunday-night Masses, which he said became a “really vibrant” and youthful celebration.
“That’s something that I will really miss,” he said.
Most of all, he said he would miss the relationships he built in Brisbane.
“That’s hard to say goodbye to, but once again, I do that trusting God that I’ve been journeying with these people as much as I’m called to and leave God to journey with them into the future,” he said.
Moving forward, he would be taking on a greater role as a spiritual director to his order’s seminarians from Papua New Guinea, Vietnam and the seminary in Melbourne.
He wanted to say a “huge thank you” to the people of Brisbane who welcomed him so warmly.
“I’ve had 12 years of growing into greater maturity and with all the passing years, seasoned by my time here in Brisbane and joyfully so,” he said.
He would be returning to New South Wales, his home state, and said he looked forward to the critical phase his order was entering at this point.