Last week, Moreland parish priest Fr David Cartwright set out about the parish boundary on a walking pilgrimage saying the rosary, praying for each person who lives in the parish and who worship there. We reached out to Fr David to find out a little more about him and his thoughts on the current climate of worship during this time of physical distancing and spiritual connection within our community.
Can you tell us where you are from?
I was born in Melbourne and educated by the Dominican sisters and the Marist brothers. I was ordained in 2000 and have served in Melbourne parishes since then. I have been Vocations Director since 2014.
Where are you currently based?
I am currently PP of St Fidelis Moreland, which is a parish made up of a large Italian population as well as young families, with hospital and vocations director as well. I enjoy the interaction with people each Sunday particularly and getting to know the families of our parish school. I very much enjoy the ministry of Vocations Director as one who helps young people to discern God's plan for their life and contributes to the future of the Church in Melbourne.
Can you tell us about your thoughts about the power of prayer in your neighbourhood during these unprecedented times?
When people feel so helpless to do anything at the moment, prayer is one thing that they can connect with, when everything around them seems uncertain and changing regularly. People are afraid and worried- prayer can bring some consolation and remind us the God is in charge. He has a plan.
What might you hope your actions inspire in others?
I would like people to pray, to turn to God, to practice their faith and encourage their families and friends to do the same. Sometimes you hear the overused phrase ' revolution of kindness', perhaps we can replace it with 'revolution of faith'.
What have you noticed within your community in these times of crisis?
The present time has brought out the best, and the worst. We saw the phenomenon of panic buying, and the disturbing scenes, encouraged by bad media reporting. But it has also seen people reaching out and connecting much more than usual. It has seen clergy trying to reach people in different ways, and relying much more on the power of prayer. The love of the Eucharist has been paramount in our people- they are missing the Mass so much.
How do you hope people will respond to this crisis?
With a renewed faith, hope and love. God brings good from all things. I pray that the time away from the Mass may not become habitual for people, but rather inspire a renewed practice of life in the Church, and a revolution of faith in our local communities. This may take time, it may mean some things must change in the future, and some attitudes need to change all round, but I am confident that God will use this time to further the Kingdom, and call us to respond in deeper ways.
What are you reading or watching in isolation?
I don't get much time for TV; I enjoy keeping up to date with spiritual and religious journals. I have just finished a biography of Dame Enid Lyons, first female MP in federal House of Reps, and husband to Prime Minister Joe Lyons. I’m also reading a lot of vocations related material for my role and keeping up to date with developments.