A good summary of Fr John Fuellenbach’s message is, ‘God loves me unconditionally and delights in me’.
At the annual Palmerston North/Wellington Dioceses’ Principal’s and DRS’s seminar last month, Fr Fuellenbach’s sessions were inspiring and challenging, constantly grounded in scripture, and gave listeners much to think about.
The theme of our time together was finding the Kingdom of God among ourselves and celebrating it.
There were so many good quotes, such as ‘find God here on earth or nowhere’, that it would be easy to list them or string them together to make an article but what was most important were not the words themselves but the wisdom presented.
Many of the ideas we had heard before but through story and scripture were gently reminded of them and encouraged to make them a reality in our lives.
We were encouraged to think big with respect to forgiveness and gratitude not just that which we offer but also that we accept for ourselves. For, as he pointed out, joy is an important indicator that we are fully alive. We find joy when we can give thanks and be at right relationship with ourselves, our God and each other.
Part of the delight of Fr John’s presentation was the amazing knowledge of the scriptures he demonstrated including fascinating facts such as joy been mentioned in the bible 352 times.
We can sit and listen to an academic to learn and gain knowledge, we can sit and listen to a wise person and develop our understanding, we can sit and listen to a seer and realise that we are compelled to go inward and reflect on our own lives. With John Fuellenbach we were fortunate to be able to do all three.
Images: Top and middle: principals and DRSs in Palmerston North and Wellington at Fr John Fuellenbach’s seminar.
Above: Rob Reid, John Grevatt (Dunedin), Raewyn and Brad Grevatt, Debbie and Chris Minehan and Matt Grevatt who came from Hawke’s Bay to hear Fr John Fuellenbach. Debbie says she and her husband were so impressed with Fr John Fuellenbach’s talk in Hastings that they flew their son from Dunedin for the Wellington seminar.
John Grevatt said he was excited by the idea of bringing the joy back into Catholic life. Fr Fuellenbach talked of the need to be joyful in our interactions with others and in our worship.
Fr Fuellenbach invokes Jesus’ view of reality and understanding of his mission expressed in Luke ‘I have come to throw fire on the earth and how much I desire to see it burning’ (Lk 12:49).
John Grevatt said he interpreted this as Jesus ‘bringing the Holy Spirit to the earth and calling on people to use the Holy Spirit’.