The purpose of this program is to enable participants the opportunity to experience different workplaces and ministries across the diocese. These ‘on the ground’ ministry work placements help participants explore the opportunities that are available to them to serve God and the local community of the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. The Pastoral Placement Program provides participants a year-long discernment journey, involving the see, judge, act method, to make an informed choice about the possibility for future ministry.
In the reflection below, Pastoral Placement Program participant Mary Sultana explains how the PPP has changed her life.
My experience in the Pastoral Placement Program has provided me with a memorable and very educational experience. I have had the opportunity to visit some local charities which do an amazing job in the community such as:-
- the Soul Café who feed and look after the homeless people in the heart of our city
- the Seafarers who provide support to sailors coming in on cargo ships in our port of Newcastle
- Mums Cottage who connects with other religions in our area to provide an outreach service, care and support for those in need
- the Dara kitchen providing freshly cooked meals in the community
- Archives – tapping into the history of our diocese
These have been quite an eye-opening experience because I had the opportunity to get a snapshot into how people are really struggling in life.
We made some very cherished memories and built some wonderful friendships during our monthly meetings and at our retreat which almost didn’t happen due to covid restrictions.
The formation experiences throughout the year, including RCIA, provided a place of growth in my faith and understanding with plenty of opportunities for learning. In my experience, I welcomed changes in catholic teachings from those that I was taught as a younger person.
A major part of the Pastoral Placement Program is our project. The project requires us to notice where there is a need in our community and look at how this can be overcome. My project is on providing pastoral care as an initiative where the local parish and school come together to support those in our community. My work included three case studies. In these examples I looked at what was happening for these people and how our church can support them. Some needs included transport to doctor appointments, help with technology to link in with our zoom prayer group, lift to mass and visiting people who are feeling isolated. This project welcomes volunteers from within the parish and our local school linking and supporting those in need.
A portion of my placement was allocated to supporting my parish in implementing measures for safeguarding. This involved regular administration work in the parish office, meeting with and supporting safeguarding promoters to register and meet legal requirements for volunteers servicing the three churches in our parish.
Covid has played a big part in the second half of this year restricting other opportunities to see what happens in our diocese as well as changing the course of my project, limiting the ability to put out surveys and therefore the ability to get a better snapshot on what people think and where their needs lie.
Looking back at this year, it has been a very busy and fulfilling year. I have been able to experience many things I would never have been able to if I didn’t enroll in this program. This is something I am so grateful for. The wonderful work that is done in this program with projects, identifying needs and setting up initiatives is a very clever way to look after people in our community.
This year has marked a place of great personal growth, faith development, learning, new experiences, I have met lots of people and many new friends and would recommend the program to anyone.
Applications for the Pastoral Placement Program close 31 October 2021. For more information, visit: www.mn.catholic.org.au/about/careers/positions-vacant/pastoral-placement-participant-2022-program/