Speaking about diocesan priesthood combined two highlights and one passion for Fr Nathaniel Brazil of the Catholic Parish of Whanganui — Te Parihi Katorika Ki Whanganui. The highlights were his fourth anniversary of ordination to the priesthood and the day, May 12, Good Shepherd Sunday. The passion is a yearning to always promote priestly vocations.

Speaking to years 12 and 13 classes in St Joseph’s Chapel on
Cullinane College Campus, Fr Brazil didn’t so much give a lecture about his life, but rather used the “tools” of his ministry to engage the students more deeply.

“Just as a lawyer has a briefcase, a doctor a stethoscope, a gardener a shovel, priests have items essential for their ministry,” he said. “My style of promoting vocations reflects my memories as a kid and how curious I was about these rituals and symbols used when priests exercised their ministry.”

Often the priest starts Mass already vested without the people having an understanding of what the vestments mean and why they are worn. A call went out for volunteers at the chapel, and four students put on albs, stoles and chasubles as Fr Brazil explained their significance.

The students showed much interest in, and respect for, other items, including his breviary, rosary beads, Bible and Book of Blessings and how they relate to his life. Questions
included how hard it is to become a priest and what a priest “does”. Fr Brazil told the students that priesthood
isn’t a career choice, but is a call from God in one’s heart.

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