Nathan keen to be a tangible source of Jesus

06 Oct 2022

By Jamie O'Brien

Nathan Barrie
Nathan Barrie will this week be ordained a deacon for the Diocese of Bunbury. Photo: Facebook.

The Diocese of Bunbury will this week gain a member of clergy with the Ordination to the Diaconate of 29-year-old Nathan Barry.

Nathan, who hails from Bunbury after moving to the regional town with his family aged three, has studied at St Charles Seminary since 2017.

Nathan will be ordained by Bishop Gerard Holohan this Friday 7 October at 7pm at St Patrick’s Cathedral Bunbury.

After attending St Joseph’s Primary Bunbury and then Newton Moore College for his secondary education, Nathan recalled in a special interview with The Record Editor Jamie O’Brien that he first started thinking about a vocation to the priesthood in 2011.

After completing his secondary education in 2009, Nathan went on to work in sales and business management.

But the prospect of the 2011 World Youth Day pilgrimage triggered his heart and mind to realise that perhaps God was calling him in another direction.

Nathan, third from left, commenced his studies towards a vocation to the priesthood in 2017. Photo: Supplied/St Charles Seminary.

“I remember sitting on the plane on the way to Spain talking to a fellow attendee and they asked me what was I looking for in attending World Youth Day,” Nathan explained.

“I responded by explaining that I wanted to see whether God was calling me to the priesthood, and that was the first time I began to appreciate and understand where my vocation was heading,” he said.

Nathan continued by explaining that during his Days in the Diocese experience, he stayed with a family in Spain that could not speak or understand English.

It was during Mass at the local parish that the grandmother said to Nathan in English, “God wants you,” he recalled.

Nathan Barrie, second from left with St Charles Seminary Rector Fr Phillip Fleay, first from left, Highgate Parish Priest Fr Mark Payton, third from right and fellow seminarians in 2018. Photo: Supplied/St Charles Seminary.

“I needed a visible sign that this was serious and I needed to discern a vocation to the priesthood. The grandmother’s words were just that,” Nathan highlighted.

During a period of discernment for five years, in which daily Mass became part of his life,  Nathan continued to work in sales and business management, later applying to study Primary Teaching at the University of Notre Dame Australia.

Nathan says he recalls many a sleepness night, but through regular dialogue with close family and friends, he began to understand he really was being called to the priesthood.

Nathan practises hymns with fellow seminarians. Photo: Sourced/St Charles Seminary.

It was in 2017 that he entered St Charles Seminary.

“It has been an incredible journey,” Nathan said.

“With Fr Jean Noel Marie as the first year formator, from the moment I arrived I felt an instant peace that this was where I needed to be.”

Nathan emphasised that it was at the end of his second year of seminary formation that he felt God confirmed his vocation.

“I now felt wholeheartedly convinced to this vocation and it was now about how God was shaping me [to be a priest],” Nathan said.

Nathan Barrie, third from left, with fellow seminarians and Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, centre, St Charles Seminary Recotor Fr Phillip Fleay, fourth from right and Vocations Director Fr Israel Quirit, fourth from left. Photo: Facebook.

Looking ahead to his ministry as a transitional Deacon, Nathan explained that his calling was also to be a sign.
“My prayer is that I can, through administering the sacraments, through preaching the Gospel, I can be a sign to those who choose to listen,” Nathan said.

“I want to be a tangible source of Jesus to them, something real, something living,” he concluded.