After giving 14 years of his ministerial life to developing the young men of Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains into priests, Fr John Hogan says he still has gifts of himself to give away.
Fr John, the Rector of the Diocese’s Holy Spirit Seminary in Harris Park, is stepping back from his duties at the end of the year.
“What I’ll remember is 14 years of tremendous opportunity for personal development, in my humanity and my spirituality, because of what’s expected of me, and I’ve tried to be as faithful as is possible both as a leader and a follower of the Holy Spirit,” Fr John says.
“I’m not saying I’m perfect, but I think I’m a bit further along 14 years later.”
Fr John has journeyed alongside dozens of young men discerning their vocation, seeing along the way a number of ordinations of men in service to the Diocese.
“I’m very grateful to the seminarians who have taken the whole enterprise seriously – the young men that are offering themselves to God and the Church.
“I’m continually inspired by the interest of young men who stay here for the sake of Christ himself.
“I find that a great inspiration to see the youth and their energy come into the place.”
Fr John is thankful that our Holy Spirit Seminary has developed such a familial and communal feel to it, allowing the seminarians to develop very strong relationships that will serve them well in their future pastoral ministry.
That relationship meant that Fr John received “total generosity” from the seminarians who were dealing with the difficulties faced alongside the rest of the world during the pandemic.
“The lads were very generous and genuine in getting on with priestly formation. It does indicate a true sense of vocation. They’re not going to let pandemics pass them by in any way.
“I’m also impressed by the way that, in spite of the pandemic, nobody’s complaining, they’ve all taken it as a hit on the chin, and you just get on with life.
“I think it shows a great maturity, they’re not looking at changing life to make it easier, but changing themselves to be able to cope better,” he says.
Looking ahead to life after the seminary, Fr John says that he hopes to continue to serve the Diocese in whatever way he can – whether it be in teaching or undertaking research projects.
“[Formation] is my specialisation. I love the subject. it’s something that I get really excited about, inspired about, so I’ll be continuing to be involved [in the seminary].
“A wonderful wisdom from Pablo Picasso I wish to share that sums up the life of the seminary is, ‘the meaning of life is to find your gift. And the purpose of life is to give it away,’
“All of the formation I teach centres on meaning and purpose. That gives context to our lives in general and the priesthood in particular.
“I probably won’t be able to be as involved as I have in my earlier years, but I’ll have some kind of gifts to give away, and maybe I’ll find more and more gifts to give away,” he says.
Your gift to the Bishop’s Good Shepherd Appeal today will support our seminarians as they prepare to serve as future shepherds and disciples of Jesus Christ.
To donate, please call (02) 8838 3482 or visit yourcatholicfoundation.org.au/appeal