On the Day when we honour the Queen of Heaven and Earth I also recall that feast day in 2004 when I came to Australia. 10 years ago it was Sunday. After a long flight from Europe, which was my first flight ever, I began my ministry in the country which then I found so different to Poland. I think that I was more blessed then convicts as I had a very warm welcome from Fr Bill who came to pick me up from the Tullamarine Airport. Poor Fr Bill didn’t know how to spell my name (I used to think that Szewc was easy) so on a piece of paper he wrote OMI (it stands for Oblates of Mary Immaculate). Although after 10 years lots of memories of those beginnings in Oz have faded away I still remember some. The first thing that hit me was the smell. As I was walking out of the terminal I said to myself: “This place doesn’t smell home at all.” However I had a bigger problem: I didn’t know whether I liked the smell or not. Wisely I decided to sort it out later. Very chatty Fr Bill tried to fill me in on many useful tips about my new home not realising that I couldn’t understand what he was telling me. I still regret that due to my bad English I missed on so many pieces of advice he was giving me that day. After we arrived to the Provincial House I managed to explain that I hadn’t celebrated Eucharist that day yet and I would like to have Mass. Fr Bill understood me and very kindly prepared the chapel for me to celebrate Mass. After I got vested and approached the altar I had the panic of my life, the Missal and the lectionary were in English. I hope that the Dear Lord understood more from what I was trying to read from those books as I understood very little. Even if the beginnings were scary I cherish that first Mass in English I was celebrating than. I also remember the intention of the Mass: It was for the people I was going to meet during my time in Australia. Today as I reflect on my ten years here I can simply say that the Lord Jesus has been very generous with me by sharing with me his friends. Those people changed my mind so much that today I can say: I LOVE THE SMELL OF AUSTRALIA. IT DOES SMELL HOME.
Fr Daniel OMI
An Oblate Priest