Pat Brophy left New Zealand today to once again join the international mission of the Society of Mary. This time he is destined for Mexico.
For the last eight years, and since returning from 16 years in Peru and Venezuela Pat has worked in New Zealand in wide range of valuable mission placements.
Disadvantaged youth, Māori youth, helping establish the JC Colin ministry to schools, a year as assistant rector at the Marist Seminary, two years as a university chaplain and lastly as the team leader of the mid-North pastoral area, are all areas which have benefitted from Pat’s full involvement.
“Things changed a lot while I was away in Peru and Venezuela, and I’m really glad I came back” said Pat.
Pat says that New Zealand is home and it is where he gets his identity from. He says he will most likely be back in three years or so, but for now it’s the call to the international mission of the Society of Mary that beckons.
“It (international mission) is part of my calling, it’s almost like it’s under my skin,” he said.
Answering his own call to be available for the international mission of the Society of Mary, has come at an extra cost for the New Zealand province, because for a number of years, as well as being a provincial councillor, he has been the province’s vocations director helping young men discern their call to religious and priestly life.
It has also been a time when the province is once again fortunate to be getting vocations to priestly and religious life.
Pat says he has been happy to raise the profile in New Zealand of a Marist vocation.
“It’s not a sedentary task, God is always calling people,” he says.
“While I’ve been the vocations promoter, in a real sense promoting vocations is a responsibility for all Marists.”
Pat is of the view that for a time there was a vocations drought, however he is of the view “the Spring rains have arrived” and that it has been a privilege to have been part of something that now sees young men discerning their life-vocation and some of them entering the seminary.
Pat arrives shortly in Mexico. As yet he’s not all that sure exactly what he will be doing, but knows he is appointed to the Marist community at Toluca, about two hours outside of Mexico City where the community is responsible for an off-campus University ministry and for receiving young men in their first years in the seminary.
He is going there at the invitation of the Society of Mary Superior General, Fr John Hannan SM, to replace a Mexican Marist who has been appointed to the International Marist Theologate in Rome.
Pat sees the move as a logical step.
“I know the language, I’m at an age where I can contribute, but overall I’m going there as a part of the global Marist mission.”
“I’m looking forward to sharing my strengths and what I can contribute.”
From his reading he understands Mexico to be a young and vibrant country; the average age is 27, but with a significant disparity of social indicators.
“Mexico is 83% Catholic, it’s almost like to be Mexican is to be Catholic,” he said, “but I guess with that comes other issues and I’m very keen to learn more about Mexico and its cultures.”