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Speaking of vocations


Testimonials from men making their journey to the priesthood have been included in a new brochure produced for Vocations Awareness Week (August 1-8) by Pilgrims Quest.

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To be distributed to senior classes in South Australian Catholic schools, the brochure includes a message from Vocations director Fr Peter Zwaans. He points out that often, the first question to be asked is “what does God want from me?” rather than “what does God want for me?”

Fr Peter Zwaans says vocations are a “gift” to be cherished, and that whenever feelings of uneasiness or unsureness arise, Jesus’ words should be remembered: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”.

The men whose testimonials will help to spread awareness for vocations all share the fact that they originally had completely different ideas of where their life was headed, or struggled along the way on their journey to priesthood.

Olek Stirrat obtained his degree in chemical engineering and biotechnology before his calling to priesthood arose. Blake Crossley practised as a pharmacist for 10 years before deciding that priesthood was “better suited” to him.

Edward Ibarra completed a degree in architecture after attending the Australian Science and Mathematics School until he found his calling to priesthood through prayer in Mass.

Joshua McDermid worked within Catholic education for several years while studying English, history and education at the University of Adelaide.

Anthony Beltrame planned to marry and have a large family before he finally decided on priesthood, much to his family’s surprise. James Thomson is enjoying seminary life in Boston, USA, but admitted the study was “intense” and he felt “a long way from home”.

Despite the challenges, the men agree that the pros far outweigh the cons.

“I can think of no better way of spending my life,” writes Anthony.

James says he finds it “inspiring” to learn from other men who are “true witnesses to our faith”.

“[My vocation] was nourished through prayer, that deep and personal relationship with God who inflamed my heart with love for him,” writes Olek.

The brochure can be found at


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