"When I said I wanted to become a priest my father said, 'I'll never get my money back on you unless you become a bishop'," says Archbishop Emeritus John Bathersby of Brisbane, as he reminisces about his life to The Catholic Leader.
"He never saw me become a bishop."
Neither did his mother or either grandparent - something Archbishop Bathersby said "is sad".
"I loved being a priest, a bishop and then an archbishop and never wanted to get out of the whole thing," he said.
"Of course there have been difficulties but I've never regretted the gift of episcopacy."
With a somewhat different schedule in retirement, Archbishop Bathersby said he was "still trying to understand a little" about the will of God. He's also spending more time climbing mountains and "reflecting on Jesus' fascination for mountains". Stanthorpe parish and the dioceses of Brisbane and Toowoomba continue to invite him to celebrate various occasions too.
He's hoping to find time to travel back to his roots in England, Ireland and Scotland and hopefully there's also time to spend writing war history.
Archbishop Bathersby said he "just doesn't have enough time" for all the pursuits presenting themselves in retirement. "I've never been in a situation where I have nothing to do," he said.
"I'm even an expert in garbage now. I've got to remember to put it out on the right day and bring it in once it's collected."
We both laughed heartily at that reality as the conversation, for now, concluded.
A favourite wall hanging, written in Latin and English, lined the corridor to the door: "Lord, teach me the shortness of life so that I may gain wisdom of heart" (Psalm 89:12).
FULL STORY: Understanding the shortness of life (Catholic Leader)