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Archbishop Christopher Prowse (front, centre) with priests from overseas nations who took part in the two-day Acculturation Seminar (Catholic Voice)

In a gathering to bridge cultures and strengthen faith, the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn recently hosted a seminar to introduce new priests to the vibrant tapestry of Australian life and Archdiocesan ministry. Source: Catholic Voice.

This event was designed to equip them with the knowledge and support needed for their vital pastoral roles. The seminar, which also drew clergy from the Diocese of Wagga Wagga, marked an important chapter in their missionary journey.

Fr Hilary Rotich, who arrived from Africa, shared his early experiences.

“I’ve been in the Archdiocese for one-and-a-half years,” he said. “One of my best experiences is witnessing the people’s faith, evangelised over generations by missionaries from places like Ireland. Canberra and Goulburn boast a vibrant and dynamic faith community, enriched by Australian and multicultural influences.”

Fr Kose Joseph from India also reflected on his warm welcome.

“When I came to Australia, the diocese welcomed me warmly. Archbishop Prowse and all the priests treated me like one of their own. I don’t feel any homesickness; it feels like home,” he said, emphasising the hospitality he experienced.

The seminar brought together clergy recently arriving in Australia and those who had served in Australia for many years.

Priests from nations including India, the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, and Kenya, shared their personal journeys to Australia. They recounted their backgrounds and the reasons behind their decision to move.

The clergy members said they found Australian customs, particularly the colloquialisms and informal social interactions, to be novel experiences. Alongside these cultural adjustments, some also faced significant challenges, such as losing family members shortly after arriving – a common hardship for many migrants to Australia.

Despite these adversities, the priests maintained a steadfast commitment to their mission.

Discussions on Australian professional standards highlighted the differences in industrial relations law and safeguarding practices. Priests expressed feelings of vulnerability and acknowledged the critical importance of safeguarding. They sought guidance on assisting trauma victims and supporting survivors of abuse.

Throughout the two-day seminar, the moral imperative of focusing on individuals, whether the priests themselves or those they serve, remained central. Committed to their calling, these men are ready to evangelise in their new and diverse communities, bringing hope and faith to all they encounter.


Archdiocesan seminar equips overseas clergy for a new ministry path (Catholic Voice)