Seminarian: Carefree life turns to one of service

04 Jun 2008

By The Record

Furthering our series on vocation stories from St Charles Seminary students, fifth-year student Matthew Willix from Lesmurdie tells of how his life skills helped him to follow God’s call.


Before coming to St Charles Seminary in Guildford, life for me was carefree. 
Having benefited from three jobs in mineral exploration, crewing Rottnest ferries and driving buses, I was thankful to God for the opportunities I experienced.
Other experiences and opportunities arose musically through bagpiping in bands around Perth and in Kalgoorlie–Boulder, where I had lived for a time.
A motivation to do something significant in my life expressed itself in various ways, which included learning to fly ultralight aircraft in the South West. 
Contemplating the stars one summer’s night, I felt that perhaps, through the generosity of God, that He might be calling me to the life of a priest.
After seeing the vocations poster at my parish, I met with the-then vocations director or for the Archdiocese, Fr Armando Carandang, now the chaplain at the University of Western Australia.
He was inspirational and supportive. He accompanied me on the way forward and helped to make the necessary preparations for meeting with the seminary board of admission.
He was very encouraging and quite assertive, and worked closely with me and bought me to Guildford and we had dinner with the other guys from the seminary.
He prepared me and got to know me so he could decide to recommend me. He was the first port of call for me before I took the next step. 
My family’s parish of Our Lady of Lourdes in Lesmurdie, as well as St Francis of Assisi Maida Vale where I lived, were incredibly supportive. I have a strong connection and support from Maida Vale parish community, with membership of the parish’s Divine Mercy prayer group.
He developed my trust, and vice versa. Everyone wants seminarians succeed, so they do everything they can to get the best out of you, so when I made the decision to become a priest, I was by no means alone.
I was apprehensive as to how I would handle the academic side of studying for the priesthood. This comprises however a quarter of the- formation program. Subsequently, I completed the Bachelor of Theology at Notre Dame on the heels of the discipline and work ethic gained through my previous jobs. Friendships and relationships are an important aspect of life for me.
I have forged life long friendships at the seminary and within the archdiocese.
Moreover having completed annual three parish placements, the many people I have met have provided the recognition and relevance with which the ministerial priesthood has for them.
It would be a privilege to administer the Sacraments, and to be able to impact the lives of others. To interface with them at the important times – for weddings, anointing of the sick or funerals. Representing Christ in a radical way for others, you are sought out by them because “you are the priest.”