Deacon Nathan called to serve the people of God and be an instrument of peace

13 Oct 2022

By Jamie O'Brien

29-year-old Nathan Barrie has been ordained a Deacon in his local city of Bunbury on the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, Friday 7 October at St Patrick’s Cathedral.

Bunbury Bishop Gerard Holohan celebrated the Mass and was joined by concelebrants Very Rev Tony Chiera VG, Cathedral Dean Rev Dr Pierre Repuyan, St Charles Seminary Rector Rev Fr Philip Fleay, along with Priests from both the Bunbury Diocese and Archdiocese of Perth. Joining in the special celebration was also the Bunbury Catholic Diocesan Liturgical Choir, of which Nathan was a member.

Speaking at the Ordination, Bishop Holohan said “Nathan tonight is called to serve people of God as they go about their mission.” Just as Jesus modelled when He washed the feet of the disciples.

“Human nature is divided and has been since the fall of our first parents. We strive to love but are held back by selfishness. We strive to forgive but are held back by resentments. We strive to be compassionate, but we can be held back [by being judgemental]. Attitudes can stop us from becoming the people that Christ calls us to be.”

Bishop Gerard Holohan with St Charles Seminary Emeritus Rector Fr Phillip Fleay and Deacon Nathan Barrie following Nathan’s ordination in October 2022. Photo: Jamie O’Brien.

But Jesus, Bishop Holohan continued “came to free us… so that we can become the people that God calls us to be. At Christmas, the angels sang peace on earth. Peace, shalom, which means may you have oneness with God.”

“So Jesus came to restore the human relationship with God. And in that way, as we draw on the power of God in our hearts, we find ourselves rising above challenges and personal failings and weaknesses and finding the path to peace instead of inner conflict.”

“It’s a lifelong journey. We all have different personalities and starting points. But Jesus takes each person where they are and by sharing His divine love, we can gradually change from within.”

“If we understand that mission of Jesus, we then understand what He meant when He told us to proclaim the Gospel to all nations. We as Christians, are called to continue that mission of Jesus, leading others to understand and to accept the divine life through baptism, learning how to live, to draw on that, to strengthen their lives, and ultimately to increase inner harmony, and peace.”

Bunbury Bishop Gerard Holohan preaches during the homily. Photo: Jamie O’Brien.

Bishop Holohan told all who were present that Jesus cared for His followers who are called to the mission of leading others to Christ in a special way. For example, Jesus took the disciples aside to teach and answer their questions, “calling them aside to rest when they’re overworking. He instituted the last supper for the ordained” before they went about their mission to serve the people of God.

Addressing Nathan, Bishop Holohan said “You’re going to receive special responsibilities, and charism from the Lord, to fulfill the ministry of service as Deacon. God in history before time began, has people in mind whom God wants to love through your ministry.”

“The charism is meant to help you see, feel, speak to and behave toward those people whom Christ wishes to serve. The charisms will empower you and through them, Christ will inspire you on exactly how He wants you to function, wherever you are, with the people in that area. But the charisms also can lead to discomfort and crosses. Because the charism, if they’re growing, will urge us out of our comfort zones. We’ll find ourselves perhaps stretched at times wondering how we can do what needs to be done. In that way, Christ develops our gifts and we can find fulfilment in the peace that He came to bring.”

Deacon Nathan stands with his family, relatives and Bunbury Bishop Holohan after the ordination. Photo: Jamie O’Brien.

“You will go into situations perhaps where your faith is challenged. But never be afraid. Because Christ will be with you. Peter learned he could walk on water, as long as he kept focused on Christ and not the storm. So in your prayer make sure you share with the Lord, your heart, your feelings, your joys, and your disappointments. Share with him fully, the one who seeks to serve through you, so He can then form you and strengthen you.”

“In the greatest challenges, focusing on Christ in the depths of your heart, you will find the joy and the peace that Jesus spoke over the last supper. Peace – He said, I leave with you My own peace, I give you not a peace of this world.” This peace that comes from Christ – a promise, the shalom, harmony with God, that will bring harmony within, harmony with others, and harmony with the rest of creation.”