The Southern Cross : August 2012
The Southern Cross continues its Living Catholic page which features articles and photographs highlighting the many good works that often go unnoticed but make a big difference to people's lives and to the community in general. Parishes are invited to submit suggestions for stories that demonstrate in a practical sense Living Catholic. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. au. Page 10 August 2012 www.thesoutherncross.org.au A former S.T.A.R. Group officer and convert to the Catholic Church says his moment of grace came when he felt most alone and afraid -- torn between his heavy-handed profession and a growing awareness of God in his life. South Australian Police Detective Mark Stanley, 38, openly explains how in the past he has felt conflicted by his work and church life, especially while as a member of SAPOL's elite Special Tasks and Rescue Group (S.T.A.R. Group) from 2003 to 2009. "I was struggling," says Marks last month. "I was trying to work out how can I be this faith-filled Christian and still complete the tasks I needed to do at work?" As a S.T.A.R Group officer, Mark was skilled in the use of firearms, counter- terrorism, apprehending armed offenders, search and rescue and close personal protection of VIPs and witnesses. He recalls a particular S.T.A.R Group response in which he was aiming his firearm at an offender, ready to fire, when something clicked in his head. "I was pointing my gun up at him and I kept thinking: if he makes that next move I'm going to have to shoot him -- I just couldn't do it anymore." It was then Mark searched, through prayer, for some divine inspiration. "In that moment, when I was literally on my hands and knees, a moment of grace just happened and I knew what I needed to do and the next day I just started doing things differently." That was three years ago. Since then, Mark has been promoted to the rank of detective and is part-way through studying ministry formation with the view of becoming a deacon. He is one of 114 men and women chosen by their Adelaide parishes as ambassadors for the Year of Grace -- an initiative of the Australian Catholic Bishops to renew the nation's faith in Jesus. "The more I was becoming involved in ministry, the more I was finding myself drawn into the mission of the Church," he says. "My faith certainly gives me a sense of purpose and direction." Although a Sacred Heart College old scholar, Mark received the sacraments in 1999 just before marrying wife Tania. Today, he is: an active member of the Glenelg Parish; a member of the Parish Council; an oblate of St Benedict; he practices Lectio Divina daily; and is keen to complete his ministry formation studies once his life as a father to a young family becomes more balanced. He says daily prayer helps him discover God's grace in his life and in that of others and, as an ambassador, he is hoping to encourage and inspire more Catholics to spend regular time praying alone and as a family beyond the confines of the Church walls. "For me, it is through prayer that we come to identify grace in our lives. I want to really remind people to spend a few minutes each day, even informally, to recognise God's grace." For more information on the Year of Grace visit www.yearofgrace.catholic. org.au Finding grace under fire In this Year of Grace, The Southern Cross will feature the stories of some of Adelaide's 114 Year of Grace Ambassadors. This month, Glenelg Parishioner Mark Stanley reveals to Rebecca DiGirolamo his search for the face of God in the line of duty as a police officer, a Catholic, a father and husband. A team of dedicated Adelaide Hills quilters have donated blankets worth hundreds of hours of work to help keep warm dozens of pregnant youth and young mothers, and their newborns. The Piccadilly quilters offered Louise Place 45 quilts last month, which they have been working on since April. Louise Place is a 24-hour supported accommodation and outreach service for young parents at risk of homelessness which was co-founded by the Daughters of Charity. Louise Place manager Vicki Lachlan said the blankets were gifted to 14 women and their babies and toddlers, with the remaining stockpile a welcome donation for those in need in the future. "They are critical to us because Louise Place really survives on donations," said Ms Lachlan. The intricate quilts resembled more artworks than blankets, with some of them taking four weeks each piece to complete by sewing machine. Some of the quilts are tagged with: "Made with love by the Piccadilly Quilters". Piccadilly quilter Rosie Maycock said each year the group, which began 23 years ago, chose a charity or organisation in need to donate their work. In the past, Piccadilly-tagged quilts have been received by victims of the Queensland floods and the Victorian bushfires. Mrs Maycock said it was the first time the group of about 32 quilters had donated their work to Louise Place. She said the Piccadilly quilters met once a week in Aldgate and each year spent a full day together sewing for a chosen charity while raising funds for cancer research through Australia's Biggest Morning Tea event. The quilts are purchased as kits from Bedford Industries -- which employs over 800 people with disabilities. "In one day we are supporting three different charities," she said. Anyone wanting to donate to Louise Place can contact the centre on 8272 6811. Quilters warm hearts PATCHWORK OF LOVE: Members of the Piccadilly Quilters who have donated about 45 quilts to Louise Place.