My mentor, friend and late bishop Joe Grech told me that once I was ordained, 'the world' would be my parish. Never could I have understood what he meant until now. My ministry takes me around the world and I get to serve the Catholic Church well beyond my local parish. As glamorous as this travel may sound to some it does take its toll on me. I do love occasionally serving the global Church but it is hard and lonely to live 'out of a suitcase' and to be surrounded by new faces every day.
I have come to realise that even though I spend a lot of time in front of and with people, most of my time is spent alone in my car, at airports, planes, trains, presbyteries and the occasional hotel room. This could too easily become time wasted. Sure I can catch up on emails, phone calls and prepare content for presentation, but I feel called to make more of it than that.
Pope Francis, while addressing newly ordained bishops earlier this month remind us that our (and the bishops) primary vocation is to prayer and holiness and secondly to evangelisation. My time alone must therefore be used to grow in holiness and fellowship with Christ. I must live, in a sense, as a hermit; using each silent moment as an opportunity to pray, meditate and reflect on the Word of God. This requires discipline and a conscious pursuit of God.
I have just completed my first North American tour where I have tried to practice the presence of God in my time alone. After spending a good while at home I will be heading to Europe, back to the USA and Canada, followed by a trip to India. I ask that you pray for us, so that as we continue to reach out 'to the ends of the earth', sharing the Gospel of Jesus we will not miss the opportunity to grow in holiness.
You can follow our team on my social media and see our public (non-school) events on FrRobGalea.com/Tour