Jubilarian Fr Martin Bugler used the occasion of Auckland diocese’s clergy jubilee Mass to remind his fellow priests of the mystery of God calling them to their vocations. At the Mass at Immaculate Conception church in Ellerslie on August 8, celebrated by Bishop Patrick Dunn and concelebrated by Bishop Denis Browne and dozens of priests, Fr Bugler preached the homily.
This year, Fr Bugler celebrated 60 years of priestly life. Other jubilarians for Auckland this year were Frs Mikaere Ryan, MHM (65 years), John Craddock, SM (50 years), Philip
Sullivan, Brian Prendeville, SM, Kevin Waldie, SM (40 years), Joy Thottamkara, CSsR, Paul Helsham, OFMCap, and Pat Breeze, SM (25 years).
In his homily, Fr Bugler noted that the mystery of the vocations of the priests present is hidden in the communities from which they came, and the groups to which they belonged, including their families, church organisations and the whole of God’s family.
All of these helped the priests hear God’s voice calling them to be a priest.
“We never find out the full explanation of how we came to be a priest, because it is a bit of a mystery. The one that God chooses is a bit of a mystery, and the way in which he chooses is a bit of a mystery. The first part of the mystery is the material that God chooses . . . but we hear the call and we answer it,” Fr Bugler said.
Referring to the Gospel reading at the Mass, Matthew 20:20-28, Fr Bugler said priests should not have the “wrong kind” of ambition, as did the mother of the sons of Zebedee
who wanted them to sit at Jesus’ left and right in the Kingdom.
“The only ambition we must have is to be able to serve people, to be able to lead them to Jesus, to lead them to understand the Church and the Mass and all the other things
that the priest can do.”
Other factors which have helped in many vocations have been “the heart of a mother”, a culture which was once supportive and the example of other priests, Fr Bugler
“Ultimately, no matter what these things were that might have been part of leading us to God, the call is from the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit speaking in our heart.”
So “the most important thing is listening to God”.
“We thank God for the gifts of each one of us,” Fr Bugler concluded.
After the Mass, the priests and bishops enjoyed a luncheon at the Ellerslie racecourse.