I had a sleepover

We usually associate this saying with children with their friends or a birthday party.  I think I can relate it to the priests of our diocese who have just enjoyed a sleep over at the Park Lake Motel in Shepparton.

There were thirty-six priests in attendance which is a great response for our diocese with our diminishing and ageing priests.

We had pre-dinner drinks followed by a beautiful meal.  The fact that we were all staying the night meant we could relax and settle in for a good chat without the concern of everyone travelling hours to return home.

There are not too many occasions when we can gather just for our friendship, brotherhood and sharing our priesthood but that was the theme of the night.

In my forty plus years of priesthood I have never known of such an occasion.

The one who instigated the lovely idea and made it all happen, even to paying the costs for everyone – dinner and accommodation was not even present.

Fr Chris Reay, who died of cancer, had the ministry of making sure all priests were looking after themselves.

He would just drop into a presbytery to see how a priest was coping.  He would encourage priests to make sure they took their holidays – look after yourselves.

So when he died he made sure that priests could have a happy occasion to be brothers together with nothing else attached – no agenda.

He may not have set the date but he made it all happen.  We prayed for him in his absence as he really was the guest of honour.

He may not have been with us in person but we were sure he was looking down on us with a smile knowing he made it happen.

Fr Michael Morley


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