The priest continues the work of redemption on earth. … If we really understood the priest on earth, we would die not of fright but of love. (St. John Vianney, Patron Saint of Parish Priests. (CCC 1589)
So it is with Father Barry Tobin, our good shepherd who has been the safeguard of priestly ministry at Nazareth Parish, Ricketts Point since January of this year.
The Lord has blessed us with a pastor after God’s heart. A pastor who knows his own – the faithful, whom he frequently calls “the salt of the earth”.
We too, have come to know Father Barry through the routine of daily mass, weekend mass and live streaming where his homilies and reflections have been a source of food for our spiritual nourishment.
More than a decade ago, Pope Benedict XVI, celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Feast Day of Saint John Vianney to be a fitting tribute to priests around the world, where the Holy Father said:
I think of all those priests who quietly present Christ’s words and actions each day to the faithful and to the whole world, striving to be one with the Lord in their thoughts and their will, their sentiments and their style of life. How can I not pay tribute to their apostolic labours, their tireless and hidden service, their universal charity? And how can I not praise the courageous fidelity of so many priests who, even amid difficulties and incomprehension, remain faithful to their vocation as “friends of Christ”, whom he has called by name, chosen and sent?
As Fathers David Cartwright and Dean Mathieson will be joining us in early August, we thank Father Barry for all that he has done to support our parish. For all his labours, his tireless service, charity, commitment and sacrifices. Indeed, a friend of Christ, Father Barry remains our dear friend.
Saint John Vianney calls us to remember:
Who welcomed your soul at the beginning of your life? The priest. Who feeds your soul and gives it strength for its journey? The priest. Who will prepare it to appear before God, bathing it one last time in the blood of Jesus Christ? The priest, always the priest. And if this soul should happen to die [as a result of sin], who will raise it up, who will restore its calm and peace? Again, the priest … The priest is not a priest for himself, he is a priest for you.
Thank you Father Barry. You are the salt of the earth. For when Our Lord speaks of this, He is describing discipleship. He is describing you.
We also thank Father James Grant, who has assisted Father Barry over these past months.
Nearing the 161st anniversary of the “dies natalis” of Saint John Vianney, we warmly welcome Fathers Cartwright and Mathieson to our community and look forward to seeing them soon at St. Joseph’s and Stella Maris churches.
To all, “pax et bonum”.
Francis Chen on behalf of The Faithful of Nazareth Parish, Ricketts Point