By Theresia Titus
In the hope of promoting vocations across Western Australia, St Charles’ Seminary has created a new initiative called The Vine, a monthly newsletter with the first issue published in February.
Nathan Barrie, a fourth-year seminarian and Editor of The Vine, told The Record that the number of seminarians had been “less in number”, prompting the Seminary to promote the idea of what the seminarians were doing to grow vocations and build relationships with WA dioceses.
“We don’t want to just talk to people who are interested in the priesthood but also show the rest of the Church as well what we do here and build relationships with them,” Mr Barrie said.
“In the first issue, we have a segment written by one of our seminarians that talked about activities that take place, which is a general story as people would be familiar with us praying and studying.
“We also showed our community and recreation life as well, so people know that formation is a holistic and wholesome experience, not just prayer and study.
“We want people to understand what priestly life is like, which is complete of many things,” he continued.
Mr Barrie emphasised that building relationships with Catholics across WA amid the coronavirus pandemic was the main purpose of The Vine.
“Once the pandemic is over, we are very open to inviting people to come, meet and greet us, in addition to supporting the seminary in whatever way they can, whether it’s befriending a seminarian or joining us for a Mass when we open it to the public and praying for us,” he said.
“We also want to reach out to those men who are interested in the priesthood, who are questioning whether they have a vocation to the priesthood and helping them to start that journey, wherever they are in that journey.”
While still being able to continue having private Mass and community prayer with social distancing measures put in place, Mr Barrie said the Seminary was coping well amid pandemic and was aware that most of the people in the Church were unable to attend public liturgies.
“We are praying for them very much when we can pray and celebrate Mass together in solidarity with them,” he expressed.
“Our classes have been shifted online. For most of us, it’s been a change but we transitioned quite well as the university has been very helpful in that regard to make sure everyone is supported.
“But we’re thinking and praying about what the COVID-19 situation means for the Church,” he added.
However, Mr Barrie also mentioned that the community life at the Seminary had been put on hold as they were unable to visit families and parishes, as well as receiving any external visitations.
“Unfortunately, one of the big things we did before the pandemic was to visit parishes on certain Sundays of the month and celebrate Mass with them but we can’t at the moment,” he expressed.
“We are still able to have daily Mass following the guidelines of the Archbishop and the Archdiocese.”
With a total six students currently residing, the Seminary encourages men who are interested in priesthood to quietly discern during this period of coronavirus-led isolation.
“Sure they can’t necessarily come here but this is a good time to pray and reflect on what God is calling them to do, to make a few more moments of silence in your day so you can listen to God’s voice,” Mr Barrie said.
“We hope that people would continue to do those things.”
Access “The Vine” here: www.stcharlesseminary.org.au/the-vine