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Nathan's good story

To My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, With these few words I offer you a small insight into my discernment journey towards Priesthood. I hope that as we meet you will feel welcome to ask questions and we will come to know one another. Like any good story, this one starts at the beginning. It was not an easy entry into this world for either my mother or me. After labour, surgery, and nearly emptying the blood bank through transfusions, the Doctor was left with an overwhelming conviction that a miracle had taken place. “I was not alone” he said, convinced of God’s intervention. As a toddler, I was forever running from Mum at Church, walking onto the Sanctuary and standing beside the priest. When I was a young boy, after coming home from Church, Mum would find me in my room with my teddy bears arranged as if I were the priest giving Holy Communion to my parishioners. It is stories like these and more experiences in my future that would prompt me to ponder life as a priest. I remember high school for me being a time where I was struggling with the idea of what I would do once I finished. What job was I going to get? What was I passionate about? What would provide me with a fulfilled life? I had so many different interests and ideas – from teaching to policing to law to the arts...and honestly, I had no idea! I think most young people share in this experience. Attending a state high school following a Catholic primary school, I was also confronted with a secular worldview which was the catalyst to a deeper consideration of my Catholic faith. It was just before I set off on pilgrimage to Madrid, Spain for World Youth Day (2011) with a group of young people and priests that I first started to seriously think about the priesthood. While in Spain we had the fantastic opportunity to live with local families. Of the family, the mother and father spoke very little English and so the eldest daughter of primary school age who was learning English assisted with the translation. I had a little familiarity with Italian and some of the similarities helped. However, the grandmother of the family I stayed with did not speak any English at all and so communication with her consisted mainly of smiles and laughter. I will never forget on our final day with our families, as we said our farewells, the grandmother hugged me tight and whispered in my ear the only words of English I ever heard her utter: “God wants you!” The experience of life in another country and culture challenged my worldview and allowed for significant growth. Through this experience I came to understand more clearly the rich diversity of the world and the Church. It was a long journey from then to 2017 when I joined St Charles Seminary, and it has not ended there, each day I continue to discern God’s plan for me. There have been moments along the way where I have asked God to consider anything else for me, but each time He has directed me closer to His Will. Through seminary formation I have grown in many ways. There are four focuses or ‘pillars’ of our seminary formation. These are human, spiritual, pastoral, and intellectual. All four of these pillars intersect and are interwoven in the life of the person. In my human formation I continue to grow in deep understanding of myself – strengths and weaknesses, vulnerability, and relationships. Recognising that my spiritual life is mediated through my humanity serves as an important awareness to ministry. In my pastoral formation I have tangible experiences that draw on my spirituality – pastoral care to the homeless, spiritual counselling and direction, clinical pastoral care in hospitals and prisons, and school chaplaincy. In my intellectual formation I learn more about faith and apply those insights to my spirituality – how I understand God, teachings of Jesus, Holy Scripture and Tradition. On Friday the 7th of October, on the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, I was ordained to the Holy Orders of the Diaconate. I am blessed to serve my first placement in St Joseph’s Parish Busselton. I look forward to meeting each of our faithful parishioners and also those on the peripheries of our Parish – all of us beloved children of God. Please pray for me as I continue to discern and undergo the Lord’s formation to share soon in His Priesthood. With Love and Blessings, Deacon Nathan Peter Barrie KHS


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