By Emilie Ng
QUEENSLAND men are heeding the call to the priesthood so rapidly that their home at Holy Spirit Provincial Seminary, Banyo, has needed a transformation.
Construction is underway to make room for what has been called the biggest intake of seminarians in decades in the archdiocese.
New and current seminarians will see new teaching facilities, a $5.5 million multi-purpose building, a modern teaching kitchen for health and nutrition training, larger teaching classrooms, a spirituality library, meeting rooms, staff offices, an archive area and new car park spaces.
Seminary rector Monsignor Tony Randazzo said the increase of vocations had inspired a new direction for the formation and training of Queensland’s future priests.
“I think across the province, particularly under the guidance of Fr Morgan Batt as the (vocations)director for the Archdiocese of Brisbane, there’s a greater awareness of vocations specifically to the priesthood,” Monsignor Randazzo said.
“I think the work (Fr Batt) is doing in discerning and animating young people, the result of that is we’ve got more young people knocking on the doors saying I’d like to consider a priestly vocation.”
Seven young men are expected to enter Holy Spirit Seminary next year, raising the number of training priests to more than 25.
The new buildings and facilities would enable young men to “be in top shape” on a human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral level “so they can carry out their service to the people of God”, Msgr Randazzo said.
“We’re trying to give the men an opportunity to have a good solid human formation in which they can ground those other elements of ministry so they can really be of service to the people,” he said. He said the wider community’s financial and spiritual support was vital in continuing to meet the seminary’s growth.
Brisbane seminarian Josh Whitehead said the building program would have “a positive impact upon our formation as seminarians”.
Toowoomba seminarian Jacob Saal said the new building program would allow the seminary community to grow.
“In a sense this community could be seen as one plant with many different branches, where the plant is being taken from a small pot into a larger pot so it’s able to grow more,” Mr Saal said.
“Obviously these buildings over here are evidence of going into a larger pot.”
Townsville seminarian Emene Kelemete said the opportunity to take practical classes in the new buildings would be “a beneficial thing for all the students”.
“We will learn more about life, and how to look after ourselves,” Mr Kelemete.
“Last year we got to learn about cooking, and a lot of us didn’t know about the varieties of food.
“Two-minute noodles are not a food.
“It will be a good thing for all us students and cater for the new students coming in,” he said.