Deacons for the Diocese of Bathurst
Five years ago, we began a new chapter in the life of our local church with a program for discerning and forming vocations to the permanent Diaconate.
The program bore its first fruits on 9th August, when Charles Applin and Terry Mahony were admitted as Candidates for Ordination early next year.
Below, Charles and Terry have written about their journeys so far.
Here I am Lord, speak to me.
The past five years of discernment, training and formation have been a time of great excitement; a time of looking to the future and a time of becoming more involved in diocesan and parish life. This is especially so in my involvement in hospitals and local aged care facilities and with the St. Vincent’s Parish, Portland.
It has also been a time of adjustment in my family life, a time of adapting and fitting in with the vocation of marriage to my wife Joan and a time of listening to the Spirit in my heart.
I now look forward to the final stage of my formation towards the diaconate, continuing to serve my local community and the wider Bathurst diocesan family. I also look forward to the opportunity of becoming the “sacrament of the present moment” by reaching out to those in need, in word and action, through the ministries of liturgy, the Word and charity.
Throughout the journey of discernment, I have received wonderful encouragement and support from my immediate family, the formation team, the Portland Parish and the wider diocesan family. I also acknowledge the strong bond of faith and friendship forged between all those who have travelled this journey of discernment.
I look forward with faith, hope and love to a future of service to the Diocese of Bathurst, to be, as St. Ignatius of Antioch described the diaconate, “the presence of Christ in the community”. I ask you all to keep me in your prayers as I approach this important milestone.
Calling to Candidacy
When I learnt that the Diocese of Bathurst was introducing a Permanent Diaconate program, my interest was aroused. I have always had a strong commitment to my faith and I felt drawn by the Lord to become a deacon.
I am married to Christine and we have four adult children. My marriage is a core element in my life and Christine is very supportive of my journey towards the diaconate.
A vital element of the formation program, for me, was developing skills to carefully discern my vocation. It was when I undertook a ‘Retreat in Daily Life’ and then began working with a spiritual director on a regular basis, that I was able to more clearly see how God was working in my life and drawing me to the diaconate.
The human formation component of the program allowed me to recognise how I interact with other people and has made me very grateful to all the people who have enriched my life journey over the years.
Going back to formal study was daunting at first, but with the support of the other men in the program, I have gained new understanding of scripture, of the Church’s liturgy and have been challenged to think more deeply in a range of areas.
As part of my formation, I visit residents in hospital and aged care facilities. This has been very uplifting and these pastoral visits have nourished my growth.
I am looking forward to the candidacy stage of my formation and, God willing, eventual ordination as a deacon. I also look forward to being of service to those in need in our community and to taking the riches of our faith ever more into our community.
To find out more about the Diaconate Program, read Bishop Michael McKenna's article about the Bathurst Diaconate Program HERE>