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The Australian community is multicultural
and the faith community reflects this.
Though I had multicultural experiences
back in India, it was never with people
from different nations. On every weekend
when I see my congregation comprising
Australians, Filipinos, Indians, Italians and so
on, I feel that this is the real Church of God:
people of all nations coming together under
Jesus’ name. It is a wonderful experience
which is unique to this country.
Along with the cultural adaptation, I still
continue a few spiritual exercises, which are
devotion to the Eucharist and devotion to
Our Lady, which I have inherited from my
family and cherished throughout my priestly
vocation. Initially, I had the impression that
these devotions were totally irrelevant and
meaningless to Australian society. But in
reality, a large number of people still hold
on to their devotion to the Eucharist and
to Our Lady. Moreover, Pope Francis is a
model in devotion to Our Lady and the
Eucharist. I have noticed that the people
who pray the rosary daily and spend some
time before the Blessed Sacrament, pray for
others, especially for their priests. When I
am in the company of such people I feel the
power of prayer.
Australia has given me a lot of good
friends. When we move to an unknown
place, acceptance and friendship mat ter a
lot. I am really lucky to have a lot of good
friends among clergy and laity. Because of
the warmth of that relationship, I never feel
that I am away from home. I still remember
the day when I arrived in Sydney airport;
our Vicar General, Fr Brian, and Bishop’s
Secretary, Elizabeth, were standing there
with smiles to welcome me to the diocese.
Since then I never felt that I am in an
unknown place. I firmly believe that the
environme nt in which we live dramatically
affect s our level of achievements. One of
the factors that makes me do my best in my
ministry is the support I receive from fellow
clergy and the people of this diocese.
Finally, the simple and powerful lesson I
learned from my priestly ministry is 'smile'.
It is contagious and truly makes a difference
to the people around us. Furthermore,
God loves a cheer ful giver (2 Corinthians
9/7) and I love this Bible verse. Every
morning when I get up, I pray to the Lord
for the grace to serve the people with a
smile – and it works!
In recent years, several priests from overseas
have come to ser ve the People of God
in Maitland-Newcastle. Aurora invited Fr
George Anthicadu, Administrator of Taree and
Wingham Parishes, to share something of
This year is very significant in my priestly
life for two reasons. I am just completing
my first year as parish administrator in
Taree and Wingham parishes and I have
not long ago celebrated my 40th birthday.
I feel I have just entered another phase in
my life. At this point of time I want to look
back, recall and reflect
upon the experiences I
have had in my priestly
life in Australia.
I have ministered
here for five years
and prior to that, for
seven years in India.
When I compare these
experiences, I can really
see the growth within me.
For me, change stands for
growth. When there is growth,
there is change. Five years ago, I was
not sure whether I would stay so long and
continue the ministry in Australia but today,
when I think about my ministry here, I love
it in a thousand different ways.
Living in a different cultural situation was
initially a bit hard but once I fell in love
with this country, it became part of my
life. I love the people and this country just
as much as home. Whenever we move
to another country, food is a botheration.
In my case, especially with regard to
food, I am a little bit adventurous. I love
to experience different cuisines and that
means I enjoy the food habits of Australia.
All the situational changes were so visible
but when I reflect upon the change that
has happened in my whole thinking pattern,
I realise it is subtle but very remarkable.
Moving ‘down under’ from India has
broadened my whole perspective about
religion, spirituality and morality. Since I
am from a traditional Catholic background,
it took me some time to reconcile the
teachings of the church and the reality I
face in my everyday priestly ministry. One
thing I admire in the Australian church
is the people’s willingness to accept
everybody, without considering whether
they practise the teachings of the church
or not. This is a very realistic, practical and
human approach which can be unders tood
only by coming out of the traditional
Before coming to Australia, I didn’t have
much interaction with other Christian
denominations but since I started
to work in the Diocese of
have had plenty of
oppor tunities to
relate with other
the Anglicans. I
still cherish those
moments I spent with
the Anglican priests, Fr
Garry and Fr Michael, in
the ministry to seafarers at
Stella Maris. That experience gave
me the understanding that if we forget the
differences , we can achieve a lot.
Our God is a God of Surprise. When I
moved to Taree I thought I would not be
having much opportunity to interact with
the Anglican community anymore. To my
surprise, I soon realised that in Old Bar,
the Catholic Church is sharing the holy
place with the Anglican community. Every
Sunday after our Mass, the Anglicans have
their service. Initially I was wondering
how people are coping with it. Eventually
I realised when people see Christ in
others, they gather together in his name.
Since then, for the last year I have been
having various activities along with the
Anglican communities. On Good Friday
we combined for the Stations of the Cross,
walking from the Anglican Church to the
Catholic Church. There was a combined
Pentecos t celebration , carol singing at
Christmas and so on.
when I think
REV GEORGE ANTHICADU
The road between Taree and Wingham.
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