“It has enriched my life in so many positive ways, I think this is definitely something I want to do with my life!”
So says Abbey, one of our Pastoral Placement Participants, about her recent experience in the program. Each fortnight, the participants reflect upon their placement and journal the practical aspects as well as the spiritual formation elements that are shaping their own faith journey.
The Pastoral Placement Program is an opportunity, provided by the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, for people to explore a variety of pathways that might help them find meaning and purpose whilst working within the Church community. Along the way, participants will encounter their own growth as they see the value in how their work can make a difference to the lives of others.
Abbey has recently been placed in Youth Ministry at St Paul’s Booragul. She was mentored by previous Pastoral Placement Participant and now current Youth Minister, Summer. Together, in their ministerial work, the pair have implemented a social justice movement called Young Christian Students. They meet each week and follow the teachings of the “formation through action” movement of the program. They provide an opportunity for students who are passionate about social justice issues to work for a more just society consistent with the teachings and values of Jesus Christ. They challenge students to focus on the reality of their own lives and the lives of those around them including the needs of the students and their local community.
“It really has given me time to think about my purpose in life and God’s plan. I have come away with a renewed perspective on my faith, whilst recognizing that mine is different to those around me,” says Abbey.
The program offers a multitude of opportunities for participants to work with people from a large variety of agencies, encountering and accompanying communities as they go forth as missionary disciples, promoting the Kingdom of God on earth.
The program also allows participants to research and explore an area that lies close to their heart. Kristine is currently working on a project that involves facilitating induction and training opportunities for parishes who wish to be a part of the Neighborhood Companions Program. The program trains skillsets that assist people in accompanying members of the community through active listening, spiritual companionship and intentional engagement in conversations and social interactions.
“My experience is undoubtedly coloured by my experience in the parish placement space in PPP. I feel that I would like my gifts to be used for the service of others. “
Morgan has had a number of incredible moments within her various placements. She recalls a time when she was visiting an elderly resident in a nursing home, where she was asked to sing to a woman in her final stages of life.
“What happened to me next was a God moment. In that moment there was a profound connection between us, and the words being sung held an ever deeper meaning and purpose. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this beautiful pastoral connection that was made; I was so deeply moved I had to take a moment to gather myself immediately afterwards.”
Xanthe is passionate about social justice issues. Earlier in the year she had a placement working at the Mission to Seafarers. Following one of her placements, she visited St Pius Adamstown High School and spoke in front of over five hundred students about the conditions of the workers on the ships that enter our harbour. Her speech had such an impact that numerous donations of care packs were made by students from the school community to be handed out to Seafarers. Xanthe has spread her wings to become more involved in the Hunter Community Alliance. She has recently accepted the position within the HHSI committee, focusing on public and social housing.
“I’ve loved getting involved in the Hunter Community Alliance, and it feels like the space that I want to be in. I’m feeling passionate about the work that I can contribute to the housing, homelessness, and social justice team.”
These ‘on the ground’ ministry work placements help participants to explore the many ways that are available for them to serve God and the local community. If you, or someone you know, is interested in being a part of the Pastoral Placement Program in 2024 and learning about future ministry or career choices, please contact us.
Manager of Formation and Education
Rose McAllister- 0414962922- firstname.lastname@example.org
Officer Formation and Education
Nicola Graham- 0417773444 email@example.com
Applications are now open for the Pastoral Placement Program for 2024, for more information go to https://www.mn.catholic.org.au/church-mission/catholic-life/pastoral-placement-program/
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