In the midst of face readings, palm readings, chakra readings, and the smell of aromatherapy oils and candles, a bright and unique booth stood for the first time at the MindBodySpirit Festival at the Showground, Olympic Park, Sydney.
When the idea of having a catholic spirituality booth hatched, it was thought that people who are searching for a certain kind of new age spirituality would come to this festival.
On the first two days, I noticed that most people who came were either mothers in their late thirties or ladies in their sixties who are searching for healing.
One lady who came to the booth wanted to share with us her feelings of depression and devastation as her husband has recently passed away. She was feeling so alone and so lonely. Her son lives far away and does not visit her very often. Her parish is pretty small and do not have many gatherings where people like her can meet and share about their lives and faith. She was searching for peace and was looking for people who can help her cure her depression. We suggested that she make an appointment with a medical practitioner and spontaneously prayed for her healing and for openness to the Will of God in her life.
Another lady, perhaps in her early forties, shared that she was baptised a Catholic. However, her family was drawn to witchcraft so she left the church just to be accepted by her family. After a personal discernment recently, she found the courage to leave her family, siblings and parents, to go back to the church and be healed and comforted by Jesus Christ. We suggested that she meet with the priest in her local parish at the weekend.
The father of a very popular model who had a booth at the festival said he was spiritual but not religious. He shared with us his own belief in God but outside of a church. He felt drawn to spirituality with no structures at all.
There were Catholics who have gone away from the church and were searching for a new and renewed spirituality and those who did not want to be near us at all.
The visitors who needed healing for themselves or for their loved ones were invited to write down their prayers of petitions to be placed on the prayer box. Some friends of the organisers prayed for them at the local church.
We were not there to have a debate. We were there to listen; to pray with people; to show them what to do next, where to go and who to approach. We just wanted to engage and to help, if asked. We hoped to accompany people in whatever they were searching for; to be a friend and to give hope along the journey of life. Most of all, to share God's love, peace, healing and mercy.