Having completed their English studies at the Passionists’ English College for overseas pastoral workers in Melbourne, the novices from Papua New Guinea and Vietnam returned to Adelaide where they were participating in the international novitiate program.
Over the past 10 years novices from Australia, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea and China have been trained in the charism and spirituality of the Passionists at The Monastery. Some 56 young men have moved on to be Passionist priests in various countries, including Australia.
“Dealing with young men, I have seen the positive potential in leadership for the Church of Asia and the Pacific moving into in the 21st century. It has been a privilege to walk with 43 of these men in my five years in Australia,” said Novice Master Br Larry Finn CP.
Originally from Canada, Br Larry worked for 34 years in the Korean Catholic Church in leadership, training young men and designing and building two large retreat centres. He also spent time in Rome as secretary to the Father General of the Passionists.
Now as Novice Master to potential leaders in the Passionists, his enthusiasm is catching and he believes the future of the Church in the hands of these spiritual men is solid. Br Larry is assisted by
Fr Matthew Qin CP from China who was one of the first novices at The Monastery.
The international novitiate program was welcomed by Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson and approved by Superior General Fr Joachim Rego CP, an immigrant to Australia from Burma (Myanmar).
Br Larry said the energy found at The Monastery was typified by the response of two Passionists, one in his 80s and another 28 years of age, who when asked ‘how are you?’ always responded enthusiastically ‘still alive’!
Fr Denis Travers CP, Superior of The Monastery and parish priest of Glen Osmond/Parkside said the novitiate was established in Adelaide because it was considered to be a good environment for young people coming from all places in Asia and Pacific.
“Places like Singapore, Hong Kong and India were considered but in the end Adelaide was chosen for its peacefulness and strength in developing solitude and prayer in the atmosphere of the St Paul of the Cross Monastery in Glen Osmond,” he said.
For some of the men their training will take 10 years before they are ordained.
“It is a long road but one that is necessary,” said Fr Travers.
“The future for these men will not be easy working back in their own countries or as missionaries around the world.
“As Pope Francis says, our Church is entering a new era and we are called in a different way in being ambassadors for Christ.
“Religious will have to be strong in their faith, aware of their humanity and flexible in what may be asked of them.
“The Catholic Church of the past will not be the same Church of the future and will have to find new ways of proclaiming God’s Love.”
Fr Travers said the five brothers were ready to work with married couples and single people as “equal” teachers to new generations of Catholics.
“We congratulate them on being Professed Religious within the community of the Passionists,” he said, adding that the community was always looking for other young men to take up the challenge of ministering in 63 countries, working within the local Church and cultures.
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