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Vocational support finds a new home in Perth Archdiocese


Archdiocesan Vocations Director Fr Jean-Noël Marie and Assistant Vocations Director Fr Mark Baumgarten are hoping to officially launch the new Vocations Office after Easter. The Vocations Office is located at 21 Victoria Square, Perth. Photo: Supplied

By Caroline Smith

By Caroline Smith

The Archdiocese of Perth has reinforced its dedication to vocations – particularly to the diocesan priesthood – with the creation of a new Vocations Office in Victoria Square.

Vocations Director Fr Jean-Noël Marie said he was excited about this new initiative, which will both promote vocations within the Archdiocese and provide support for those who are discerning their vocation.

“In Perth, we’ve never had a place that is exclusively ‘vocations focused’, a place from which we can promote vocations, or an address where people can contact us,” he said.

“But now we have an address – this is a very exciting initiative of the Archbishop; it marks a new beginning.”

Fr Jean-Noël Marie went on to say that the aim of this new initiative is to instil into the Archdiocese of Perth a culture of vocations, and that the Archbishop has been very gracious in providing the much needed space for the office to open. “This centre, which is accessible to everybody, along with the resources which have been made available, will enable us to develop and produce the necessary material and support in our relentless campaign of promotion of vocations,” Fr Marie said.

Fr Marie also explained that he and Assistant Vocations Director Fr Mark Baumgarten are hoping the Vocations Office will be officially launched sometime after Easter, but that their work had already begun in terms of meeting people and developing resources, including a forthcoming website and promotional videos.

Commenting on the initiative, Fr Baumgarten said the decision to create a dedicated office for vocations would be a boon for the Archdiocese.

“This is a real opportunity to professionalise vocations promotion and make it a lot more deliberate, with specific strategies and focus,” he said.

While the Vocations Office is not directly connected to Perth’s seminaries, Fr Marie said that the seminaries would also play a role, particularly with men who are seriously considering an application.

“The seminary comes in at a later stage in our discussions, once we feel that ‘this could be a good candidate’ and they are getting closer to making up their own mind about pursuing the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Perth,” he said.

“They may have some questions about formation or the lifestyle, and we can arrange a visit to the seminary, to have lunch there and let them see for themselves.”

Fr Baumgarten said the office’s work would be founded on ‘four Ps’: prayer, presence, promotion and planting seeds, adding that the Archdiocese’s Lenten campaign of praying the Rosary each Thursday for vocations was a good example of the first.

“Presence means being present at things such as various youth events, going into high schools, and so forth,” he said.

“Promotion refers to things like the forthcoming website, or to more conventional materials such as posters and postcards. Some of these have been present previously, but we are striving for it to become more coordinated and organised.”

Fr Baumgarten went on to explain that planting seeds refers more to creating a culture in which an interest in vocations is embraced and encouraged throughout the Archdiocese.

“It needs to be seen as a more normal thing for a young man or a young woman to respond to a priestly or religious calling,” Fr Baumgarten said.

“Ultimately, the thing that probably bears the most fruit is building good relationships with people who are serious about their faith, and providing them the assistance they might need to discern where God is leading them.”