Seminarians Build Relationships Through Sign Language

Matthew conversing in Auslan with the community at the Ephpheta Centre.

Meet Matthew Dimian. 

He joined Holy Spirit Seminary in 2014, and has wanted to be a priest for most his life.

Every Friday, Matthew visits the Ephpheta Centre, which is a community for the hard of hearing and deaf.

During his visits, he also learns Auslan, so that he can converse intimately with those who are deaf and hard of hearing, and build genuine friendships.

Matthew says “it is important to learn Auslan, because as a seminarian, you want all people to know the Gospel and Jesus”. It will also prove beneficial as priests receiving confessions. Members of the deaf community don’t want to confess with an interpreter and would naturally be more comfortable confessing directly to a priest – hence the value of their knowing Auslan.

When asked why Matthew wanted to become a priest, he shared “I wanted to be a priest as far back as I can remember, probably as young as 3 or 4 years old. The more I learned about the Church, the more this desire grew within me”.

“In high school, I tried to do a few different things, but none of them really satisfied, so eventually, I had to succumb to the desire within me, and I gave my life completely to God. To me, this is better than any occupation, because I completely love it, I completely love God and I hope to serve the Church”.

“There are a lot of things the world promises, but ultimately it doesn’t satisfy. Follow the Lord with all your heart and you will receive his life in return.”

When asked about a typical day at the seminary, Matthew said “a very good part of our time is spent studying. It’s so great, we are studying the truth for its own sake. We study philosophy where we learn about the world and the big ideas throughout history. We also study theology and learn about God’s revelation to us”.

“We do heaps of things in the seminary, we spend a lot of time in prayer, deepening our relationship with God and with each other, and we also engage in normal human activity, we play soccer often, we play cards, catch up after dinner and listen to music, all sorts of things. It’s a blessing to be in the seminary, and I’m very grateful for all who support us in our vocation, especially for those who pray for us and those who supply for our material needs”.