Kiri said there were many moments that fueled her devotion to the Catholic faith leading up to working for Project Hatch and now, Channel 10.
“I think a lot of people mention there was a moment, but there wasn’t really a moment for me, but a progression about getting more involved and understanding more about my religion, and getting more devoted to it through that,” she said.
One moment included her connection with Project Hatch’s founder Dave Jorna, whom Kiri first met while at her Redlands high school, Carmel College.
She said it was through Dave, who was working as the campus minister at Carmel College, that she encountered Christ.
“It always comes back to Dave,” she said.
“Dave would walk past, and one day said hi and asked why I was at school early, and then, he invited me to Mass,” she said.
Wednesday morning Masses before school quickly became a clear way for Kiri to practice her faith.
“I knew I believed in God but never practiced anything about it, but Wednesday morning Mass every week became a routine,” she said.
But what really impacted Kiri was attending Christian leadership training program Movers and Shakers when she was 16.
“I thought it was going to be a leadership camp and it turned out to be so much more than that,” she said.
“I met these people who were my age but was just so devoted and clear on their faith.
“I honestly came back and people there can attest to that, came back saying it was the best experience of my life.”
Eight years on, Kiri has been blessed to attend World Youth Day in Madrid and represented the Brisbane archdiocese at the canonisation of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop in Rome in 2010.
Kiri said attending the canonisation was one of the most unexpected major experiences in her life.
“To be there, at Australia’s first canonised saint, that was massive,” she said.
When Kiri isn’t involved in a major Catholic event, she’s thinking of ways to involve her Catholic faith in her professional work.
“My Catholicism is always a presence in my job,” Kiri said.
“I don’t put it in a box when I arrive to work and pick it up when I go home – it’s constantly with me.”
While Kiri doesn’t have much influence on the final product of news on the Catholic faith, her ideal film package would include shots of the congregation, especially of young people and the way people prayed in Mass.
“It’d be up to the journalist, but I’d love to stay for the entire Mass and actually be a part of it,” she said.
“And I guess knowing that it is a prayerful time, I would still be mindful of that personally.
“I would still do the sign of the cross walking into the church while I was working.
“I wouldn’t put up a barrier between these people are at Mass and now I’m the cameraman – I would still walk in there as a Catholic.
“We recently went to a prayer service for the family members of the passengers of the Malaysian Airlines flight.
“There was one woman who stood up and prayed for everyone involved, the search crews, the families, people who worked in the airlines, and she said I also pray for the media, that they cover it factually, honestly and with compassion.
“And I had a moment – that hits close to home, because that’s our job, we have to cover it.
“We often have to cover the sad stories and the hard stories, and the things that can be difficult to deal with on a daily basis.
“So there’s this woman, and here I was filming her and she’s praying for me, not me specifically but me as part of a whole.
“I had a couple of tears. It was sad.
“I guess it brought it back to home that while I love what I do and it’s amazing the opportunities I get, that’s not everything, that’s not everything I am, I am a Catholic and often times that comes first.
“I’m a daughter, sister, and a friend.
“So I think sometimes when you walk in with a Ten shirt and a camera on your shoulder, people do forget there’s a person behind there.
“In a day-to-day kind of role, sometimes my morals, which I always attest being Catholic morals, sometimes they can sort of get in the way from a news point of view,” she said.
“I know there are times when you might be asked to film something that goes against what you believe in or goes against how you feel about a certain situation.
“There are some situations where it’s hard to balance what you need to do, your responsibilities in a job, and I guess what you believe as a human, and for me the humanity and the ethics will always come first.”
Just two weeks ago, Kiri was on location to cover a follow-up story about the families of passengers on the Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.
“The family strictly made a statement that they didn’t want to talk, but still we had to go and knock on their door and try to get them to talk,” she said.
“I really struggled with that – I didn’t want to be there and I didn’t want to put them through that.
“For me it came back to, you treat others how you want to be treated.
“You put yourself in their shoes and I know it’s not what I would want.”
Kiri said Channel 10 and especially her mentor had been a constant support, understanding that she can’t just distance herself from her stories.
Support is something Kiri wants to give to other Christians in her workplace.
“From my own experience being a Catholic in the media, I guess I really try and encourage other people saying they’re Catholic, or Christian and they go to church,” she said.
And for Kiri, it’s been refreshing to work in an industry the was not just filled with Catholics.
“I guess, I’d like to think that there are Catholics in every industry, that we don’t all just work in the church,” Kiri said.
“Some of us do spread our wings and go and have other jobs.
“I’d like to think there are Catholics out there wearing their beliefs proudly on their sleeves.”
The Catholic Leader is an Australian award-winning Catholic newspaper that has been published by the Archdiocese of Brisbane since 1929. Our journalism seeks to provide a full, accurate and balanced Catholic perspective of local, national and international news while upholding the dignity of the human person.
The Catholic Leader acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the First Peoples of this country and especially acknowledge the traditional owners on whose lands we live and work throughout the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.