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1967

Fr Patrick Mugavin

inducted 2015 Service

About Fr Patrick Mugavin

Born in 1950, Patrick is the second child in a family of nine, and was raised on a dairy farm at Wollaston, just outside Warrnambool. Despite a life-time desire to pursue a career in agriculture, the prayers of his grandmother prevailed that he might one day be a priest.

Patrick speaks glowingly of the influence and encouragement given by his teachers at CBC, to the extent that he has maintained a lifetime friendship with Christian Brothers such as Br Williams, who was Principal during his 6 years of secondary schooling, Br Cleary and Br Chappel. Incidentally, he was one of the first male students to do subjects at the then St Ann's College, studying Biology in 1966 under Sr Stephanie, now Sr Beth Calthorpe: the future Emmanuel College was already in gestation!

Grateful for the opportunity to develop a wide range of interests both sporting and cultural, as well as personal and spiritual development, he was humbled to be chosen to take on the responsibility as school captain in his final year. Enduring friendships with fellow students from those days continue to enrich his life to this day.

His seminary studies over seven years beginning 1968, saw him being one of the few student-priests spanning three different campuses in Werribee, Glen Waverley and Clayton, which signified major changes in the church following Vatican 11. Vibrant world class lecturers, especially at Glen Waverley under the Jesuits, inspired him in a life time pursuit of further study and contemplation.

The Columban Missionary magazine, The Far East, which arrived each month in the family home, inspired him to a world wide vision of the church and social justice, which saw him serve during the summer vacation on isolated mission stations in the jungles of Papua New Guinea, on three separate occasions during his seminary years. Such experiences sensitized him to the immense challenge of inculturation of the gospel message in different cultures, including the rapidly changing modern culture.

Having been ordained in Warrnambool in 1974, he then served in parishes in Horsham, Mildura and Ballarat. While in Ballarat he was deeply involved in youth ministry and was named as the inaugural director of youth ministry in the Ballarat Diocese. It was a vibrant and exciting time with many of our tertiary students at Aquinas and St John of God Nursing School participating in activities and liturgies (now combined as Australian Catholic University.)

In the meantime, a visit to India in 1978 exploring Eastern spirituality had a profound effect on him and provided the doorway for him to rediscover our rich Catholic heritage of meditation and contemplative practices. He has since been involved in leading and conducting meditation courses and groups in successive parishes, including his current parish of Hamilton.

The Ballarat diocese has a long history of giving its priests the opportunity for a cross cultural mission experience in Papua New Guinea or Chile. Patrick seized on this opportunity and served with the Columban Missionary Society in Chile between 1985 and 1991. They were tumultuous times under the cruel dictatorship of General Pinochet. Working with the poorest of the poor in marginal shanty towns, his parish shared the persecution endured by the marginalized. In endeavoring to be the voice of the voiceless, and in taking the side of the powerless, the priest and parish was treated as an enemy of the state, which led to much tension with the authorities.

In Patrick's time ministering on the outskirts of Santiago in this atmosphere, he learned much from the deep faith and hope of inspirational Chileans, who though poor, were rich in solidarity with one another. He came to experience first hand God's preferential option for the poor and learned to read again the gospel from the perspective of the poor (which is the call of Pope Francis to the church today.) During this time Patrick was especially inspired by his experiences of the great courage and faith of the victims of torture and the families of the disappeared. Such lessons remain vivid for him to this day.

Returning to the diocese he soon found himself once again in Mildura, part of an experimental team ministry approach. It was during ten years in Mildura that he was exposed to the horror and destructiveness of past clergy abuse. Subsequently, along with the Parish Pastoral Team, he was able to confront such crimes and work with survivors and their families, as well as the wounded parish community, towards some healing. Extensive media appearances, public meetings, cleansing rituals, symbolic actions, removal of names from church foundation stones, were some of the actions he led in this sad and traumatized time. Patrick has continued to be involved with many such survivors and their families over succeeding years until the present.

His capacity to minister in such traumatic circumstances was enhanced by a year's sabbatical in Chicago in '99/2000 at the Institute for Spiritual Leadership. The formation accorded him in this twelve months has had a profound enriching effect on him and his way of ministering.

Patrick sees the repercussions of the scandal of clergy sexual abuse to be the greatest challenge our church faces in these coming years. He feels that until there are significant prophetic actions by the church towards the healing of victims and their families, our church will struggle to reach the hearts of new generations. Patrick's desire is that the church of the future be more humble, more inclusive of women, ever ready to listen to and learn from the voices of the wounded, and ever ready to engage creatively with the culture of our day.

Underpinning Patrick's story is the unconditional love given him by his parents, family, and special friends, mirroring the Source of all love.

Short version
College Captain at CBC in 1966, Father Patrick Mugavin began seminary studies in 1968 and was ordained as a priest in 1974. During his summer holidays as a seminarian Patrick served in isolated mission stations in Papua New Guinea and this sensitized him to the challenge of extending the gospel message in different cultures..

Patrick was the inaugural director of youth ministry in the Ballarat Diocese and served in parishes in Horsham, Mildura and Ballarat. Patrick seized on an opportunity to serve with the Columban Missionary Society in Chile between 1985 and 1991 while Chile was under the cruel dictatorship of General Pinochet. In Patrick's time ministering on the outskirts of Santiago in this atmosphere, he learned much from the deep faith and hope of inspirational Chileans, who though poor, were rich in solidarity with one another.

Returning to the diocese in Mildura Patrick that he was exposed to the horror and destructiveness of past clergy abuse. He was able to confront such crimes and work with survivors and their families, as well as the wounded parish community, towards some healing. Extensive media appearances, public meetings, cleansing rituals, symbolic actions, removal of names from church foundation stones, were some of the actions he led in this sad and traumatized time. Patrick has continued to be involved with many such survivors and their families over succeeding years until the present. In 2015 Patrick has given 40 years of service as a Priest and is the Parish Priest at St Mary's in Hamilton.

Fr Patrick Mugavin

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