Divine Word Missionaries are present in the Brisbane Archdiocese and the Rockhampton Diocese in Queensland.
Most are actively involved in pastoral work, either in parishes or, for the retired members, in helping out with Masses, giving retreats, spiritual direction, mental health ministry, chaplaincy and prayer formation for adults.
St Mark’s Parish Inala
The SVD resided for 42 years in Marburg, Queensland and moved to Hamilton in 1988. The Archbishop of Brisbane placed the parish of St Cecilia, Hamilton, in the care of the Society.
The house in Hamilton, which was previously occupied by the Mercy Sisters, is home not only to the SVD confreres, but provides lodging for young students from Papua New Guinea who come to Brisbane for further education.
In 2010, following discussions with the Archbishop of Brisbane, the SVD began shared ministry across the two parishes of St Cecilia’s, Hamilton and St Mark’s Inala. In 2013, after many happy years and in consultation with the Archbishop of Brisbane, the SVD withdrew from parish ministry at St Cecilia's Parish to take up ministry elsewhere in Brisbane.
Fr Stephen Pilly SVD is the parish priest of St Mark's. The ministry at St Mark’s includes a special focus on the Vietnamese Catholic community. About 1700 parishioners worship at St Mark's each weekend. Of these, around 1000 are Vietnamese. The parish also has many Samoan, Filipino, Tongan, European and South American parishioners.
St Maximilian Kolbe Parish, Kingston-Marsden
In 2013, at the request of Archbishop Mark Coleridge, the SVD took up a new appointment, with responsibility for the parish of St Maximilian Kolbe, Kingston-Marsden in the growing Logan City area of Brisbane.
Fr Sunil Paul Nagothu SVD is parish priest of St Maximilian Kolbe parish, with Fr Adrian Jenani SVD, assistant priest.
Divine Word Missionary members are also working in Mackay, about 1000km north of Brisbane and in Blackall, which is 600km south-west of Mackay.
Fr Ronaldo Rodriguez is the resident pastor at St Patrick’s Church, Blackhall and also ministers to the communities of Our Lady of Victories Church Tambo, Sacred Heart Church, Barcaldine and St John the Baptist Church, Alpha.
“The churches are rural and small with a population of about 5000,” he says.
Catholics make up less than 30 per cent of the population and there are very few immigrants.
Fr Ronaldo’s main ministries include the celebrating the sacraments and providing chaplaincies to the Catholic primary school and aged care facilities.
Despite the small population, Fr Ronaldo says lay participation in the church is very strong and includes a parish pastoral council, finance committee, lay-led liturgy, music ministry, sacramental program for children and adult faith education.
Fr Thuy Xuan Pham SVD is resident priest at St Brigid's Parish, Farleigh and Fr Rodrigo de la Rosa SVD is parish priest at St Patrick's Parish, Mackay.