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Fr Mark Nugent '47

Written on the 3 May 2018 by Old Collegians Association

Fr Mark Nugent 

Exert fom 2006 Rostrevor Magazine

Dear Andrew,

Thank-you for your good wishes on the occasion of the celebration of my 50 years in the priesthood and I provide here some information on my recollections of Rostrevor and my 50 years in the service of God.

From the 1956 Annual: Fr Mark Nugent.

I was at Rostrevor in 1944 in Grade 7 and left to go to the Passionist Seminary in Sydney at the end of 1947 having completed my Intermediate certificate. I studied for my NSW Leaving Certificate.

I was an only son in the family and I am one of those pupils who loved every moment at Rostrevor. There are no remarkable achievements, either academically or in sport. I used to follow the First Eighteen around and watch their matches. They had very good teams, including Bill Coglin, Wally Hearn, John Walsh, Allan Dunn, John Vaughan, Wilf Pak Pay, Brian Moore to mention a few. Br G C McMahon was the coach.

I was taught by Br Mogg, Br G C McMahon, and Br Kerwick and Br Bourke was in charge of the Cadets which I enjoyed very much. We had great fun at Woodside on camp during the May holidays.

Br Gurr also taught us football and choir. I attribute my football interest and choir singing to him and Mrs. Mary Fountain. My one dread was gymnastics as I could not overcome a fear of falling off the apparatus. Mr. Hubble was the teacher.

From the 1947 Annual: Bungalow Road looking south ta where the Junior School is today. The road was lined with Pepper trees.

The Brother who influenced me the most was Br McMahon. He taught me The Brother who influenced me the most was Br McMahon. He taught me for 1st and 2nd year. He was very gentle and enthusiastic, and I still remember his Friday religion classes when he would take us through the Sunday readings. This really helped me to make up my mind to have a crack at the priesthood.

On 30th June 2006, Pat Cooper, Chris Mithen and I - Mark Nugent - will celebrate 50 years of priesthood in the Passionist Community. Having been asked to write some recollections of those years, I can only be thankful to God and my family and my religious brothers for all the help I have been given on that journey. 

From the 1947 Annual: The Chapel altar during Manon Devotions.

I entered the Passionist Juniorate at St Ives NSW from Adelaide at the age of 15. I wanted to go earlier but my mother wisely put her foot down and said I would have to wait until further into my education. Travel was very difficult in those days as we still felt the shortages created by the Second World War. The journey to Sydney from Adelaide was 2nd class and took 2 nights with a day spent wandering around Melbourne.

I well remember my first days at St Ives - homesick and missing my Mum, Dad and my 2 sisters - Naomi and Geraldine.What was the inspiration that led me to this calling? I was brought up in a very religious family (thank God) and we attended Parish missions every three years, conducted either by the Redemptorists or the Passionists. The latter used a large crucifix and preached beneath that on the love· God as manifested in the Suffering Jesus. That inspired me to want to an itinerant preacher, helping people to understand more fully just how much Jesus loves each one of us. To me, the Passionist calling offered me the opportunity to explore more deeply the sufferings of Jesus, so they could offer support and meaning to those who are suffering. I have found this an exciting calling as I have met so many people for whom I've been able to be God's instrument in offering them hope and meaning in suffering.

From the 1944 Annual - Proficiency Class
On Ground: J Gogler, D Smith, B Richter, B Mulhall, J Kelly, M Nugent 
On Stool: R Ashwood, P Ward, J Callary, F Crowe
Second Row: D Schlink. T Milburn. G Head, B Guthrie, J Teisseire. A Dunn, N Bergamin, A Jones, P Maloney
Third Row: J Strang, B Devitt, M Scheid, P Kingswood. T Scott, J Teisseire 
Back Row: R Parker. M Rossetto, R Robinson. D Gibbons, D Kavanagh

It has led to many very deep and beautiful friendships which I treasure. Along the way, I have been exposed a large range of ministries. I spent years teaching French, Maths and Sacred Chant at St Ives - 5 years giving Missions and Retreats, 4 years running the Retreat House at Glen Osmond, 4 years as Parish Priest of Glen Osmond, 6 years studying practising as a social worker in the field of family adolescent and child psychiatry, 5 years as a school Chaplain and 9 years as a Chaplain to the South Australian Aboriginal Community. I learned much about racism, under privilege and coping with disadvantage during these years. I suppose, looking back, I have met many fantastic people, struggling with their own crosses no matter what be their socio-economic situation. They've taught me a lot about the mystery of life and particularly the mystery of the Cross.

One special memory, sea red into my psyche, occurred when I was a young priest still wet behind the ears. I met young lady in a long-term psychiatric hospital. She told me of her sufferings and I said to her "you know, Jesus suffered dreadfully in the Garden of Gethsemani." She looked me in the eye and said, " Yes I know that, but He is the Son of God." Since that day, I have spent a lot of time pondering over the mystery of Jesus and trying to balance out the fact that He is God's own Son and He is truly human like us in all things except sin as we are told in the Letter to the Hebrews.

From the 1947 Annual ·- Intermediate Class I
Front Row· B Polomka, B Hoaran. J Vaughan, A Malone, V Giles. T Giles, F Murphy, P Silverman
Second Row. A Bazeley, P Arnfield, J Corponi, J Fetherstonhaugh, N Bergamin, B Richter, M Nugent
Third Row: B Byrne, D Kittel, D Taheny, D Smith, L Kinnear, J Pyne

My big challenge now is the direction the Church seems to be taking in lacing the demands of the modern rid. The Church is ever ancient, ever new. I agonise over the young ones who arebeautiful young people but are wandering in the dark in matters of the spirit. I know Jesus is His Church. I know the comfortable feeling of certainty in which I grew up is not the natural state for the I know that darkness is the path of the journey, and I pray that young ones may find their faith and their love in the Suffering Jesus and deep spiritual learning in their precious lives.

ROCA congratulate and celebrate the work of Fr Mark. His life's passion can act as inspiration to us all.

 

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