Home' The Southern Cross : August 2014 Contents Page 12 August 2014
Founded in France in 1854,
the Missionaries of the Sacred
Heart came to Australia in the
1880s after the Holy Father
asked the order to evangelise
Melanesia. Today, the decision
is paying dividends for the
Church in Australia, as JENNY
during an interview with newly-
ordained priest, Fr Carroll Martin
msc, and Henley Beach parish
priest, Fr John Rate msc.
The parish of Henley Beach in Adelaide’s
western suburbs could not be more
different than the parish of Guma in East
New Britain, Papua New Guinea.
Just ask Father John Rate MSC, who
recently accompanied Father Carroll Martin
back to his home parish to celebrate his
first Mass as an ordained priest.
“After a five-hour trip on an outboard motor
boat going bump, bump, bump, we arrived
at Guma and all of sudden there were
lemons being pelted at us,” said Fr John.
“I took off my glasses to make sure they
didn’t get broken, and then they started
whipping some of the other priests who
were with us.”
Fr Carroll, 31 and a member of the Mengen
tribe, explained that the tradition dated
back to the hostile reception given to the
first missionaries and was “an initiation into
the culture of the place’. Clearly the locals
had a change of heart, as evidenced by the
number of Catholic churches and schools
in the region, not to mention the fact that
Fr Carroll is the 13th priest from Guma to
be ordained a priest, with three more on
Accessible only by boat and with limited
communication, especially since the
transmission tower was struck by lightning,
the parish provided challenges in terms of
hosting his ordination.
“It was just too complicated to organise,”
he said. “I couldn’t get in touch with my
relatives and the bishop would not have
been able to leave Rabaul.”
His decision to be ordained at Our Lady of
the Sacred Heart, Henley Beach, where he
had been ministering as a deacon for the
previous 10 months, was well-received by
parishioners who quickly set about making
sure the day was a great success.
The local Star of the Sea School students
got involved and a combined choir was
formed. Archbishop Wilson ordained
Fr Carroll, and a number of MSC priests
and priests from the western deanery were
on the altar.
“Wow!” was how Fr Carroll described the
ordination Mass. Fr John said the church
was “packed” and there were “three long
claps”. Afterwards, at afternoon tea, one
parishioner told Fr Carroll, “if you ever
doubt whether you’re loved, remember this
“It did a lot for the people too,” said Fr
“The Church is going through some tough
times and this restores their faith, it inspires
Whether it’s his heart-warming smile or
infectious laughter, Fr Carroll has certainly
had an impact on the congregation and
there is no shortage of invites to dinner.
The Carey family, in particular, has
befriended him, with the priest’s soccer
skills being put to the test by their three
Fr Carroll said being sent to Australia had
helped expand his horizons. “Coming to
a new environment has opened my mind
to the different cultures and to the outside
world,” he said.
“I don’t find it hard to live with people. I
see, especially in the community here, how
many people mix – Indians, Vietnamese,
Filipinos, Anglo-Australians. They all make
me feel very comfortable...the goodness of
people is the same everywhere.”
Fr John said Fr Carroll had a “gift” with
people and wasn’t afraid to go to them and
say “hello, my name is Fr Carroll”.
“He does that beautifully and they love him
for that,” he said.
But Fr Carroll is quick to point out that
Fr John has helped him a great deal and
taught him to have confidence in his
Before his ordination, Fr Carroll was
performing baptisms and celebrating Mass
as a deacon but now he is doing weddings
and funerals and has even anointed a
He said it was an “overwhelming”
experience to see the effect of ‘faith’ on
someone which, in turn, was an inspiration
to his own faith.
His calling to the priesthood came when he
was in year 10, partly due to the influence
of two priests in the parish, but mainly
because of his family’s strong faith. (Fr
Carroll’s grandfather was in the seminary
but left to become a highly-respected
He grew up in the small highland village of
Toimtop (population approx. 100) and was
raised by his father and uncles and aunts
after his mother died when he was a young
child. Fr Carroll and his younger brother
would walk two hours each day through
the jungle to attend the nearest Catholic
school on the coast.
His father died in 2012, just after he
became a deacon, but his brother, a
subsistence farmer, and his other relatives
were present when he said his first Mass in
his home village.
“It was a very special moment for me,” he
It has already been quite a journey from
plumber to priesthood for Patrick Mara.
As this newly ordained Rev revs along the
Stuart Highway, he follows a well-marked
road and a God whose love could lead him
to minister anywhere.
It is expected that Fr Carroll will remain
at Henley Beach for another 12 months
before being assigned to a Missionaries of
the Sacred Heart parish in PNG.
HAPPY TO SERVE: Father Carroll with Star of the Sea Henley Beach students Laura Perry, Alisa Cirocco and Lauren Boeyen.
Below: Fr John Rate visited the diocese of Guma earlier this year for Fr Carroll’s first Mass in PNG.
vocations week august 3 - 10
‘The distinguishing mark of our Society is companionship... bound
to the Roman Pontiff by a special bond of love and service. Thus,
we share the joy of the whole Church, and express our renewed
availability to be sent into the vineyard of the Lord.’
P. Adolfo Nicolás SJ.
in our mission
sharing the love
and joy of Jesus
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