My comment relates to the letter of Michael Baker published in the February AD2000, under the above caption.
From the clues given by Michael, I am able to identify the priest and parish.
I can inform Michael that the priest concerned serves six distinct communities, each with its own church where Mass is celebrated regularly, each separated by many kilometres and each with its own problems.
Is six such churches a record number in Australia for a single priest and parish? Is the work-load tolerable and feasible?
Caring for six separate communities at once involves considerable travel and effort by the priest. Sick calls, funerals, weddings, baptisms, etc, have to be accommodated.
If Michael had spoken to this priest, he would have been impressed by his spiritual and pastoral qualities and his caring and welcoming nature.
Coping with the priest's heavy work-load is rendered even more difficult by serious ill-health. Could this have resulted in exemptions from certain liturgical norms?
The priest is also hampered by other specific heavy burdens at present.
None of these burdens hampers his cheerful spirit nor impairs the pastoral care available to his six communities. Our Lord refreshes and strengthens this wonderful man, enabling him to shoulder burdens which many others could justly complain about.
Ex parte criticism is often risky and unfair in the absence of knowledge of all the relevant circumstances.
Hopefully there will always be in this case, a similar degree of vigour in the encouragement and compassion shown by those who assist at this devoted priest's Masses.
Name and address supplied