Divine Word Missionaries are present in the Brisbane Archdiocese and the Rockhampton Diocese in Queensland.
Most are actively involved in pastoral work, either in parishes or, for the retired members, in helping out with Masses, giving retreats, spiritual direction, mental health ministry, chaplaincy and prayer formation for adults.
St Mark’s Parish Inala
The SVD resided for 42 years in Marburg, Queensland and moved to Hamilton in 1988. The Archbishop of Brisbane placed the parish of St Cecilia, Hamilton, in the care of the Society.
The house in Hamilton, which was previously occupied by the Mercy Sisters, is home not only to the SVD confreres, but provides lodging for young students from Papua New Guinea who come to Brisbane for further education.
In 2010, following discussions with the Archbishop of Brisbane, the SVD began shared ministry across the two parishes of St Cecilia’s, Hamilton and St Mark’s Inala. In 2013, after many happy years and in consultation with the Archbishop of Brisbane, the SVD withdrew from parish ministry at St Cecilia's Parish to take up ministry elsewhere in Brisbane.
Fr Bonefasius Buahendri SVD is the parish priest of St Mark's. The ministry at St Mark’s includes a special focus on the Vietnamese Catholic community. About 1700 parishioners worship at St Mark's each weekend. Of these, around 1000 are Vietnamese. The parish also has many Samoan, Filipino, Tongan, European and South American parishioners. Fr Joseph Vu SVD and Fr Van Bang Nguyen SVD are assistant priests and chaplains to the Vietnamese Community.
St Maximilian Kolbe Parish, Kingston-Marsden
In 2013, at the request of Archbishop Mark Coleridge, the SVD took up a new appointment, with responsibility for the parish of St Maximilian Kolbe, Kingston-Marsden in the growing Logan City area of Brisbane.
Fr Sunil Paul Nagothu SVD is parish priest of St Maximilian Kolbe parish. Fr Firminus Wiryono SVD is assistant priest and chaplain at Logan Hospital.
Fr Sunil says Logan is located in a low socio-economic area, with a lot of refugees, including people from African countries such as South Sudan, Nigeria and Burindi. The parishioners are predominantly of Pacific Island heritage, with a large representation from Samoa, as well as others from places like Fiji, Tonga and the Solomon Islands. Other cultural groups are also part of the parish community.
The multicultural parish is well known for wonderful singing and parish community events, and a youth group is growing in numbers. Every year, the youth sleep out in the carpark during winter to raise money for Vinnies.
Divine Word Missionary members are also working in the Rockhampton Diocese. Fr Ronaldo Rodriguez SVD has been appointed as Associate Pastor of the Catholic Parish of Bundaberg by Bishop Michael McCarthy.
Fr Ronaldo’s main ministries include the celebrating the sacraments and providing chaplaincies to the Catholic primary school and aged care facilities.