Serving the Diocese
It’s been more than two years since Deacons Terry Mahony and Charles Applin were ordained, the first men ordained to the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese’s 150 year history. Rev Mike Williams and Rev Josh Clayton followed, being ordained as deacons later in 2017.
Our deacons are actively living their vocations within the Diocese and I recently caught up with each of them to learn about their individual ministry and involvement in our local church.
Deacon Charles Applin and his wife Joan have been involved in church life and ministry at the Parish of St Vincent’s, Portland since moving to the area in 1971.
Charles is a member of the Diocesan Pastoral Council (DPC) and is currently involved in the development of a Diocesan Ritual and Liturgical Notes for ‘Sunday Celebration of the Word and Holy Communion in the Absence of a Priest’, which will also include presenting training sessions for lay ministers at Kandos/Rylstone, Gulgong and Mudgee.
Bishop McKenna recently appointed Charles to assist with the pastoral and sacramental life of the Parish at Kandos/Rylstone.
In the future, Charles said he looks forward to engaging with the faithful of Kandos/Rylstone in maintaining their positive and enthusiastic faith encounter. “I also look forward to training lay-ministers in all aspects of ministry and maintaining an ongoing pastoral presence at Macquarie Care in Bathurst, as well as in Kandos and Rylstone”, he said.
Deacon Terry Mahony and his wife Christine have lived in Bathurst for over 30 years and enjoy being involved in a range of Cathedral Parish groups and activities.
Terry said “My current ministry includes providing pastoral care to the residents of Macquarie Care, Bathurst. I continue to serve as a deacon for some Sunday Masses at St Catherine's Nursing Home as well. I work closely with Fr Filby, Parish Priest at St Ignatius, Oberon, to support the Parish and its pastoral needs”.
Terry is a member of the Marriage and Family working group of the DPC.
With regard to what lies ahead Terry said, “In my role, the prime focus is in being present to the people or community involved. I intend to increase my support at Oberon by working closely with St Joseph’s Catholic School and the local residential aged care facility. I also look forward to continue serving as a deacon at St Catherine's, to support the retired priests and community there”.
Deacons Josh and Mike have slightly different roles to that of Charles and Terry, as they are both employed in full time positions within the Diocese. Mike is a Prison Chaplin, while Josh is the Ministries Co-ordinator for the Diocese.
Josh and Anna Clayton live in Bathurst with their four children and believe strongly in the power of parishes to be the centre of outreach and evangelisation in communities: places of encounter with each other and Christ.
Josh works closely with the Parish of St James’, Blayney where he attends Mass with his family and is involved in sacramental preparation for students at St Joseph’s, Blayney and Blayney Public School.
He is part of the Steering Group for the Ministry Formation Program (MFP), is a member of the DPC and is part of the Covenant Committee with the Anglican Diocese of Bathurst.
Josh said “I am looking forward to continuing to work closely with families in sacramental preparation, looking at ways to connect with, rather than just 'doing', the Sacraments, as well as helping all those who do so many great things in the Blayney parish. Another important focus will be to help parishes deliver the mission of our local church in their communities and helping others to encounter Christ in a deep and meaningful way”.
Deacon Mike and his wife Peta have lived in Wellington since 1990. Mike has been the Prison Chaplain at the Wellington Correctional Centre for the past six years. Prior to this, he was a teacher at St John’s College, Dubbo and St Mary’s Catholic School, Wellington. Mike also is a member of the DPC.
With regard to his role as Prison Chaplin Mike explained, “The role of a prison chaplain is being Christ’s hands, feet and eyes in prison. It’s not as difficult as you might think. It’s different. It’s a ministry of presence. Who we meet is the person, not their crime or background. We see and hear the person and provide them an opportunity for confidentiality, a listening heart and spiritual support. Sometimes we become the advocate for the inmate or liaise with their family, with the aim of empowering the person. The people we work with may share their life and story with us, this makes me feel very privileged. This is God at work in my life”.
“God guides me through each day, answering my prayers in the most extraordinary ways and through the most unlikely of people. I am certain that I receive far more grace from those I minister to than I could possibly bring to them”, Mike said.
We give thanks for the wonderful gifts our deacons bring to our Diocese, especially to those most in need. Please keep them in your prayers as they continue to serve us each and every day.