Bunbury Bishop Gerard Holohan has last week highlighted three charisms St Charles Seminary formed Nathan Barrie would receive in his new ministry as a priest.
Speaking Wednesday 17 May at St Patrick’s Cathedral Bunbury, Bishop Holohan was joined by concelebrants, St Patrick’s Cathedral Dean Rev Dr Pierangelo Repuayan, Busselton Parish Priest Fr Jaybee Bonghanoy MSP and St Charles Seminary Rector Fr Francis Nguyen together with priests from the Diocese of Bunbury and Archdiocese of Perth.
Continuing his homily, Bishop Holohan emphasised two basic principles to guide Nathan as he commences his priestly ministry the first being that Nathan is called to be a companion of Jesus in His ministry and the second is that he is called to be a feet washer.
“…you need to remember that your call is to serve, never to be served,” Bishop Holohan explained.
“Jesus instituted the ordained ministry during the Last Supper after teaching his disciples that they were to serve as slaves by washing their feet. The priest is called to be a ‘feet washer’.”
Speaking about the charisms Nathan would receive during the ordination, Bishop Holohan also noted they have three broad purposes.
“These are to enable you to serve in the Person of Christ whenever you actually engage in activities which serve His ministry to those entrusted to your pastoral care,” Bishop Holohan said.
“…how effectively the charisms work in your ministry will depend upon your personal conversion and your prayer life in your ministry.
“It will depend too upon how well you actually know those entrusted to your pastoral care and whether, as shepherd, you have on you ‘the stench of the flock’ – to quote the image of Pope Francis,” he continued.
Thirty-year-old Fr Nathan, who grew up in Bunbury from the age of five, studied at St Charles Seminary commencing in January 2017.
After attending St Joseph’s Primary Bunbury and then Newton Moore Senior High for his secondary education, Nathan said it was the 2011 World Youth Day pilgrimage that moved him to realise that perhaps God was calling him in another direction.
“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.
“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 Edith Cowan University.
Nathan says he recalls many a sleepness night, but through regular dialogue with close family, his parish and friends, he began to understand he really was being called to the priesthood.
Thinking about his new ministry, Fr Nathan said he is happy to be led by the Spirit.
“I will do my best to trust that the Lord will give me the courage and discernment to put Him first, to listen attentively to what the Spirit is showing me through the events of my ministry,” Fr Nathan said.
“With so many without hope in our world, I want to be a reminder that we are all beloved sons and daughters of God.”
“I want to be a light in the darkness to all whom I am called to minister, with a heart that is merciful, patient, after all, the Church is a field hospital as Pope Francis has reminded us,” he concluded.