The adventure God offers
AS a Canberra local, Australian Catholic University (ACU) Canberra Campus Chaplain Fr Paul Nulley is passionate about introducing members of the community to Jesus, and journeying with them as they discover their purpose in life.
As the parish priest at St Joseph’s Parish in O’Connor, a vocations director and key figure in his diocese’s youth ministry project, Fr Paul sees his campus work as both a privilege and opportunity.
“All ministries are about following Jesus who has a plan for our lives,” Fr Paul says.
“It is a privilege to be with young people as they discover who they are and the specific mission God has given them.
“The adventure God offers is much more exciting than anything we could imagine for ourselves.”
The former Marist College student worked in the public service while discerning a vocation to the priesthood. Former Archbishop Mark Coleridge advised him, “If God calls, it’s important that you answer.”
“That gave me great confidence to make that leap of faith,” Fr Paul said.
“I was at the seminary in Sydney for three years and in Melbourne for four years.”
Ordained in Canberra in 2013, Fr Paul said one of the encouraging aspects of ACU chaplaincy is that many students are studying nursing, social work and teaching and go on to work in Catholic institutions.
“I am very aware that I am the face of the Church in many ways,” he said.
“I wear my collar and try to be there for students to answer questions and help them identify positively and personally with the Church, rather than seeing it as just an institution with the failings we hear so much about.’
Fr Paul impressed with the way ACU offers students a pathway to discover faith.
“Often it begins with food and friendship, then faith can emerge,” he said.
“I like thinking of it as the four Bs: belonging, becoming, believing and being supported.”
“Connect groups are the basis of student ministry and a way to check in with each other and cover different topics. It’s great that ‘Frontier’ students are taking the lead so we can offer student-to-student ministry.”
An upcoming opportunity open to the whole Canberra community is the Alpha program, which will soon be offered in the Watson parish.
Alpha is an 11-week course of conversations about faith, life and God.
Contact the Watson Parish Office on 02 6248 5925, or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries.
•For more information about ACU Canberra Campus Ministry go to: https://campusministry.acu.edu.au/