Missionary priest to serve Ryde-Gladesville

The Catholic Parish of Ryde-Gladesville has a new parish priest.

CAPTION: Father Greg Morgan FMVD adds the Three Wise Men to his tiny Nativity scene at his parish office in Ryde. TWT on-the-spot PHOTO

Father Greg Morgan FMVD arrived from Rosebery Parish last week after a colourful career that has seem him work as a missionary priest in ministries as varied as the Hispanic streets of San Francisco and the cloistered corridors of Rome. Although widely travelled he said he is delighted to have found a new home at historic St Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Ryde and Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Gladesville. He also has a strong affinity with Holy Cross Patrician College, being schooled by the Patricians at Fairfield for eight years.

“I really feel at home here, right from the very beginning I can say I love it here,” he said. Father Morgan is from the Catholic Order of Verbum Dei, a worldwide Catholic and evangelistic movement which aims to bring the Word Of God (Verbum Dei) into people’s lives and hearts.

“My spirituality is to explore the readings at Mass, explore the scriptures in everyday life and to build community,” he said.

“My aim is to support the wonderful community we already have here. ”I know that we are living in particularly challenging times, where people work many long hours and that we do lose sight of what is beautiful and we are lacking what is spiritual and joyful.”

Within hours of his arrival, Father Morgan has struck those around him with his sense of joy and love for others and the word will soon get around that he is fluent in Italian and Spanish. Father Morgan also has a Bachelor of Commerce from NSW University and worked as a trainee auditor for Price Waterhouse, but what local people may not know is that he became a priest through an unusual encounter on a train in 1986. ”I had my calling at Villawood Railway Station, when I was 22 years old,” he said. ”I suddenly felt I had been called to talk to a Laotian man, a migrant, a voice inside me urged me to talk to him, but I felt embarrassed to approach a complete stranger.” Father Morgan regretted not listening to his inner voice but as fate would have it, he met the man again, exchanged addresses and learned that his name was Teo Pham and that he lived in a half way house for disabled, traumatised veterans of the Vietnam War. ”For the next six months I’d come by each week to teach them English,” he said.

“From there I met the Verbum Dei missionaries and I just connected, I knew I had been called to be a missionary and my calling absolutely stunned my family.” Ordained in Majorca, Spain in 1995, this joyful priest has served in Colombia, Venezuela, Spain, The Philippines, Ireland, Germany, the United States of America and Italy. ”I went on to become the Administrator General and Vice Superior (male congregation) of the Verbum Dei Fraternity,” he said. ”In saying this, I’m not really such a great organiser, I more of a people person and I’m very much for using the talents we have here and inspiring people. ”That fact that I’ve been a missionary overseas means that I also, especially, welcome being able to serve in this multicultural parish.” A constant presence in Father Morgan’s life is Jesus, whether present on the altar or in the hearts of those who seek love and seek to love others.

“We can love because He first loved us,” he said.