An opportunity to see the ‘fuller person’

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An opportunity to see the ‘fuller person’

What Ben Brooks is looking forward to most about his pastoral placement is the opportunity to serve parishioners and grow through fraternal life.

The mature-aged seminarian is on summer break from Beda College, his seminary in Rome, and will be serving in the Sandy Bay-Taroona Parish until the end of September.

He says he is keen to become involved with the parish’s ministries and pastoral work.

“I'm excited at this stage because I can actually be involved in things that I haven't really had much opportunity for in the past. For example, we visited a retirement home this morning. So just to be able to do a bit of pastoral work in that space is quite new for me,” he said.

Now 45, Mr Brooks spent 25 years as a member of the Society of Christian Doctrine, a society of lay catechists dedicated to teaching the Catholic faith.

While he has worked in parishes before due to his previous role as RCIA and Sacraments of Initiation Co-ordinator for the Archdiocese of Hobart, Mr Brooks says that his parish placement has allowed him to see the ‘fuller person’ of those he interacts with.

“When I was going to parishes in my previous job, I was going for particular reasons: to meet a particular group of people for a meeting, or going to Mass or an event. So you're meeting people in a particular capacity,” Mr Brooks said.

“When you're here on a pastoral placement and you're meeting them after Mass or in their home, you're seeing them in the fuller person.”

Although he only officially started placement at the end of August, Mr Brooks has been coming to the parish each weekend to assist with Masses, funerals and taking Holy Communion to the sick.

But it is not only by serving that Mr Brooks hopes to grow during his placement, but also through the lived witness of priestly life, as he will be living and working closely with parish priest and Vocations Director Fr Brian Nichols.

“There's a lot of sharing of wisdom, a lot of sharing of experiences and just to share your prayer life with somebody is very useful. We're not living in a community as such here, but you do have a particular fraternal bond,” he said.