Serving the poor: Fr Frank Bird s.m.

Fr Frank is a Marist Priest in Ranong, Thailand, working at the Marist Mission, serving among the poor. He shares his story.

I’ve never felt happier.

Restless. Yes, that perhaps sums up in a word a spirit led journey.

I turned 40 a year ago and realised each year I was becoming a bit more a comfortable.

Although a little dramatic, one image in my mind was that of putting slippers on and watching a bit more TV.

With about 25 years to go before retirement, do I choose to slow down or go deeper?

Answer a more radical calling in my bones that I could not turn off.

I knew deep down becoming more comfortable was going in the reverse direction to a God placed desire in me.

Who do you really want to be?

I can still remember a significant moment when I was 16. I was asked by a priest during a spiritual conversation: Frank, what is your deepest desire? Who do you really want to be?

My response was pondered often while walking my Doberman dog along the riverbank – (she insisted on large amounts of daily exercise or she would bark the neighbourhood down) – I wish to live a life of love and service for others.

And hence the journey began to Marist life and Priesthood.

While in New Zealand I greatly enjoyed serving in schools, parishes and among the indigenous Maori people.

But working among poor Burmese Migrants in the fishing town of Ranong for the past 18 months has changed me inside.

What it is like serving in Asia

It’s a bit like Jesus in the gospel of John taking off his ‘priestly garments’ and picking up a ‘towel and water basin’ to wash dirty feet; moving from the ordered priestly workbench of the altar to more dirty missionary pathways and streets.

I’ve been serving on the Thailand Burma Border for the past 18 months and I’ve never been happier. Continue reading

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