AS diocesan co-ordinator of the pilgrimage of the relics of St Therese, I seek to address some of the implications of the article titled ‘Cost of relics tour questioned’, drawn from the Burleigh Heads parish newsletter in your March 10 issue.
Fr Pat Molony is quoted as being concerned about the cost of the publicity of this tour and the large numbers of advertising brochures dropped at the doorstep of every parish.
Here are some of the facts: Archbishop Bathersby chose for the pilgrimage to come to Brisbane archdiocese aware that some costs would be incurred.
Most of the large-scale costs for such a venture, including transportation, insurance, security and publicity, have been borne by a large number of corporate sponsors keen to be associated with this unique event. This is evident on the poster displaying the map of the national itinerary.
The Carmelite communities throughout Australia are bearing much of the promotional costs, including maintenance of the Web site, distribution of 1 million simple black-and-white prayer cards for those choosing to venerate the relics, provision of seminars and talks about the life and spirituality of St Therese and her ‘Little Way’ at little or no cost and making available a series of resources at cost price for those wanting to learn more about the ‘Little Flower’.
The ‘advertising brochures’ referred to, I believe, are the Lenten calendars produced and paid for by our own Carmelite community at Ormiston at no cost to this archdiocese.
These gifts have helped thousands of members of this archdiocese and beyond to reflect on some of the key messages and thoughts of St Therese.
In fact, there have been minimal costs incurred by this archdiocese in hosting this spiritual event.
To suggest that expenditure on such an event would prevent the building of a church in a particular area is naive, but what is important in this matter, is to acknowledge the generosity and goodness of the Carmelite communities across Australia, who in their desire to promote the spirituality of their beloved Therese have acted in faith to produce such resources.
Together they daily form a spiritual powerhouse of prayer for the life and mission of our Church.
While needing to be conscious of costs, some recognition needs to be given to the merits of drawing tens of thousands of Catholics across this nation together in prayer, as they draw inspiration from the life of St Therese during this pilgrimage of grace.
MIKE HUMPHRYS Brisbane, Qld