Five seminarians from Holy Spirit Seminary at Harris Park are currently completing their pastoral placement with CatholicCare Social Services (CCSS).
Matthew Dimian, Jack Green, Andrew Rooney, Chris del Rosario and Adam Carlow are in formation for the priesthood.
Ann O’Brien, Director of Marriage Support and Specialist Services for CCSS, has been working closely with the seminarians to support them in their pastoral placement.
“This is the first year we are doing something like this and I think it is great because it enables the seminarians to understand the work that we do, so that they can make referrals in the future,” Ann said.
“Lots of people go to priests with lots of different issues and some of the needs will be very much relevant to the services that we provide.”
Andrew Rooney has been taking CatholicCare’s frail and aged on outings so that they don’t feel isolated. Jack Green and Chris del Rosario have been out at Mamre Homestead in Orchard Hills, helping with the day support group for adults with disabilities.
CatholicCare’s Aboriginal Services Centre at Emerton provides art therapy sessions for Aboriginal people and for those recovering from mental illness. Adam Carlow’s placement there has involved decorating scarves and painting masks.
“The purpose of the artwork is to really express yourself. Sometimes people find it very hard to express themselves with words and so a way of overcoming this is to use artwork as a form of expression,” Adam said.
Matthew Dimian has joined the Walk 4 Wellbeing group at Embark Cottage in Blacktown, supporting those with mental health issues. The group walks from Blacktown to Lalor Park.
“It’s very casual. If you want to chat, you can. If you don’t want to chat, you can just walk and think. It’s a comfortable short walk,” Matthew said.
The pastoral placement with CCSS is highly recommended by the seminarians. Matthew believes the experience with CCSS is indispensable in helping them prepare for the priesthood.
“It’s really important for the Church and for those who are studying to be priests to be in contact with the weak, the vulnerable, and those who are in need,” he said.
“Those are the people who we particularly have a mission for because Our Lord had a love for those who were especially vulnerable.”