Noted date in Fr Martin’s ministry

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Noted date in Fr Martin’s ministry

Western society is desperately in need of re-evangelisation, according to West Tamar parish administrator Fr Martin Aye Ngwe.

Fr Martin, 49, was reflecting on matters of faith as he celebrated his 20th anniversary of ordination in April.

The occasion was marked with a gathering of more than 60 people at an evening thanksgiving Mass and dinner, at St Francis Church, Riverside.

Fr Martin studied zoology at university level, holds a diploma in social communications from the Catholic University of Lyon in France and has a diploma in pastoral communication from the Pontificia Universita Gregoriana in Rome, Italy.

He was ordained on April 6, 1997, at St Peter’s Cathedral in the Diocese of Pathein, Myanmar (Burma). Since then, he had two years in Davoy Parish in Mawlamyine Diocese, Burma; two years of further studies in Europe; five years as national director of communications for media for the Bishops’ Conference of Burma; five years in the Broken Bay Diocese in NSW; two years in the Archdiocese of Sydney; and four years in the West Tamar Parish, based at Riverside, north of Launceston.

“To be the administrator of the parish is sometimes challenging, sometimes very happy,” Fr Martin said.

“This is life, with time for smiling and time for crying. Every day is different.”

Fr Martin speaks four Burmese dialects, English and a bit of French.

An interest in joining the priesthood was present from an early age.

“When we are young we see the priests as leaders of the crowd,” he said.

“They are our leaders. I wanted to be a leader, but perspectives change over the years.

“The role of the priest is the representation of Christ to fulfil His vision for the salvation of all mankind. It is a mission that is carried out without an attachment to worldly things, family matters and so on.

“I love to assist God and at the same time I love to lead the people on the right path for their spirituality, to be closer to God.

“We are badly in need of re-evangelisation in western society, especially Australia, because the people are more attracted to the worldly things and their appreciation of their own religion is weaker than before.”

Music is an important part of Fr Martin’s ministry. Guitars, a keyboard and sheet music fill the living room of the Riverside presbytery. The talented musician and singer regularly shares his gifts with the students of St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School at Riverside.

“Music is my hobby,” he said with a smile.

“I am crazy about music. It is a way to connect with others and it brings joy.”

The West Tamar Parish includes the churches of St Francis of Assisi at Riverside, St Canice at Glengarry and St Francis Xavier at Beaconsfield.