Middle East visit sparks amazing journey of faith

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Middle East visit sparks amazing journey of faith

A study tour to the Middle East marked a pivotal moment in the faith journey of Steven Smith.

While in Egypt and he visited the City of the Dead; a massive city area full of tombs and graves.  However, when Mr Smith noticed that some of the tombs came equipped with satellite dishes he wanted to know more.

He was told that desperate people with nowhere else to go had moved in to live in the City of the Dead, a slum area home to an estimated half a million people.

“It was in Egypt that I got my wake-up call,” Mr Smith recalled.

“In that moment I discovered how lucky I was in Australia for everything I had and it made me wonder what I was doing with my life that was worthwhile.

“Until then, my biggest concern was whether I could afford to upgrade my computer or move to a new place.

“That little voice in my head that has always pushed me towards my faith – that voice started to get louder.”

Time with prayer and discernment followed and Mr Smith, 33, realised that it was time he answered a call to the priesthood, a call that had reverberated quietly in the background since his childhood.

“This thought or voice, pushing me towards becoming a priest, has always been there.

“Sometimes I tried to ignore it. After visiting Egypt and Israel, that voice became so much louder.

“The other factor is I like to help people. Those two just seemed to come together and so I answered that call and it has been an amazing three-and-a-half years since.”

Now a fourth-year seminarian at Corpus Christi College in Melbourne, Mr Smith is on a parish placement at Mersey-Leven with parish priest Fr Mike Delaney until Christmas.

Mr Smith is the third of four boys born to Michael and Christine Smith. His mother is Catholic and his father, a convert, is now in formation for the permanent deaconate in Tasmania.

Mr Smith is enjoying driving around Mersey-Leven Parish to visit Catholic schools in Latrobe, Ulverstone and Devonport; Mass centres; and nursing homes, meeting new people and helping where he can.

“It is an incredible opportunity and I am learning so much,” he said.