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Thursday, 10 May 2018 18:28

From desert to city, task is the same: just love the people

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Bosco Titjikala baptism 150Fr Bosco Son SVD’s new assignment at the bustling Macquarie Fields Parish couldn’t be further away from his previous ministry in the small indigenous community of Santa Teresa in Central Australia, but he says his aim remains the same – simply to the love the people.

“Before taking up my position at Santa Teresa, the former Provincial, Fr Tim Norton SVD, asked me to try to do two things: one was to try to love the people and the other was not to create a problem,” he says.

“I hope to try to do those same things here at Macquarie Fields and in addition, I want to try to help the parishioners realise that they are born into this world to love and to be loved by others.”

Fr Bosco Son SVD with parishioners Santa TeresaFr Bosco, who is from South Korea, was at Santa Teresa for about five-and-a-half years, and says he learnt a lot from the local people.
“I experienced many things there that helped me a lot to love my ministry,” he says.

“The first thing I experienced was the simple Arrernte people, who had incredible patience. Their unceasing patience allowed me to settle in there and do what should be done. They knew how to wait for someone or something without complaints and did not jump quickly to judge people.

“The second thing was their simple life which allowed them to accept the reality of where they were and who they were.”

There were challenges though, not least the harsh conditions of the desert country of Central Australia.

“The weather could be pretty severe,” he says. “The highest temperature was 47 degrees Celsius and it was 36 degrees at 11pm that same night.

“We also experienced heavy rain which caused floods which cut the whole community off from Alice Springs.”

Fr Bosco says culture, including language, is one of the main challenges to all missionaries, and he was no exception.

“Many times I struggled to understand the cultural differences that existed there, but what I learned was, to accept it if it was hard to understand it,” he says.

“My own experience in Ghana as missionary student, as part of the SVD’s Overseas Training Program, helped me significantly to follow the step for understanding and accepting differences.”

Now assigned to Macquarie Fields Parish in Sydney’s southern suburbs and within the Wollongong Diocese, Fr Bosco is getting to know his new parishioners in this vibrant, multicultural area.

“It’s a big parish and geographically it has been growing and expanding because of new housing developments and the parish has a school now too, so socially and pastorally, it’s no wonder it is an active parish where I will experience many different demands from the parishioners,” he says.

But, in the end, despite the huge jump in cultural experience, he says, his task at Macquarie Fields is the same as his task at Santa Teresa - to love the people – and he’s looking forward to doing that.