Life as a New Chaplain

By Fr Mike Guthrie

In August this year, Cardinal Vincent asked me to be the Youth Chaplain to Westminster Youth Ministry.   

I was quite surprised to be asked, but also very humbled, as I knew what great work in evangelisation was being done by the engaged team of young men and women who worked there. 

Over the years I had gone to the Retreat Centre for different events and also come across the Outreach team in our Westminster parishes and in our seminary. All my dealings with them left me very impressed that they were on fire for winning souls for Christ amongst our young people. 

After starting my new role as the Diocesan Youth Chaplain, I can now see how our teams at Westminster Youth Ministry and at our Retreat Centre are so effective…

It is because they are all genuine disciples of Christ.

None of them are working here simply to pay the bills. They put their relationship with him and their focus on their baptismal vocations as Catholic Christians before everything else.

In addition to their baptismal vocation, they are all slowly discerning what specific vocation the Lord has for them in their lives. Three of the team are now in Christian marriages with babies or expecting babies, while one of our young men is starting seminary next year.

Even though they are employees, they are incredibly passionate about what they are doing for the young people of our diocese, but even more so, who they are doing it for. For me as a new-ish priest, this is very energising and makes my role supporting them incredibly rewarding. Like most real Catholic Christians, each day is punctuated by lots of laughing and a genuine joy.

I am also the Assistant Priest at St George’s in Sudbury.

This creates an enjoyable balance of being the Youth Chaplain for our Diocese, while at the same time as supporting my Parish Priest with the sacramental life of the parish. The normal weekly Parish rounds in a large parish include offering the sacrifice of the Mass, confessions, adoration, weddings, funerals, baptisms, RCIA programmes and caring for the people of God. I can then bring all I have learned at St George’s to the Youth Ministry role.

I feel very richly blessed by the Lord in my first year as his priest and look forward to continuing to contribute to the part of his mission that is Westminster Youth Ministry.

Fr Michael Guthrie is the Youth Chaplain for the Diocese of Westminster. He also works as Assistant Priest at St George’s, Sudbury. Get in touch with him at michaelguthrie@rcdow.org.uk

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