Not the most original joke I’ve ever managed but that’s the truth of it. These days I’ve been up in Down. To be more exact, I’ve been in Dromantine, near Newry, the home of the SMA Missionary Society and a Conference Centre.
My reason for being here is a Diocesan Priests’ Retreat and I’ve been meeting with some of the priests of the Diocese of Clogher. The days have been very enjoyable. There’s a lovely energy around meeting and talking with a group of priests and, in that meeting, I am reminded what made me want to be a priest in the first place – that sense of decent men, doing their best. Of course, life has taught me that it’s not always that simple but the truth remains, priests are doing their best to be their best.
Anyway, I don’t want to write about that just now. I’m just in from a walk (The Darkness Into Light must have spurred me on!!). I don’t know how far I walked but it was pleasant. I didn’t really talk to anyone along the way – apart from the odd wave and hello – but tried to notice what was around me.
A few images – among them four dogs in a field. Their owner was totally in charge and almost got them to pose for me. Cattle in another field walked towards me to see who was passing the road. Near a house I noticed a small model house built into the garden. I wondered was it done at some stage for a child of the house and if so, is that child still there or long gone. Either way, the structure is there and looked well. I spotted the sign for Dromantine and in smaller letters “African Missions” and thought of countless young men from all over Ireland who travelled here not knowing really where “here” was but just in response to what they believed was a call to Missionary Priesthood. I spotted lovely colours along the way, a lamp – not yet lit – that will when needed cast light into darkness. Lastly, the lake in the shadow of Dromantine and two little ducks, doing what ducks do so well – afloat and at ease in each other’s company.
See what you think …