Postgraduate studies improve professional skills for Notre Dame staff

Tom Gannon and Fr John Sebastian graduated from The University of Notre Dame Australia's Fremantle Campus in December.

7 January 2014

The importance of continual research to further develop professional skills was reflected last week with two members of the Campus Ministry at The University of Notre Dame Australia’s Fremantle Campus graduating from their postgraduate studies.

Campus Chaplain, Fr John Sebastian, and Campus Minister, Tom Gannon, were two of more than 1000 students on the University’s Fremantle Campus to graduate last week at the December Graduation Ceremony. A further 700 students graduated on the University’s Sydney Campus in the same month.

Fr John graduated with a Master of Arts in Theological Studies. His motivation to study was to deepen his understanding of Christian Anthropology and to develop further his knowledge of how Australians incorporated culture and worldview in their interpretation of the Gospel.

“Coming from India, I began to learn by observation that Australians interpret the Gospel in a much different way than the Catholic community back home. However, the more I put into my studies, the more I grew to understand and cherish my host country and the University community,” Fr John said.

“I was continually impressed by the quality and dedication of lecturers in the School of Theology. They took great care in their teaching and care for each student.

“Learning always keeps you young. Theologian, Karl Barth, said that you should preach with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other. Studying for me has always been an opportunity to grow my faith and live my priesthood more fully.” 

Mr Gannon said he chose to study a Graduate Diploma of Counselling Skills at Notre Dame because of the “personal growth” aspects students received from the course, delivered by supportive counseling staff in the University’s School of Arts & Sciences.
“Embedded in the course is the idea that as a counsellor you need to be committed to looking at how you interact with clients and your own issues,” Mr Gannon said.

“With my work as Campus Minister, I get to interact with lots of different people at different points in their lives. Brushing up on the skills and concepts that underpin counselling have boosted my pastoral abilities, as well as making me more confident as to when I should refer people on to the counselling serivce.

“Archbishop of Perth, The Most Reverend Timothy Costelloe SDB, spoke at the Graduation Mass about the importance of the Catholic worldview. I think that Notre Dame plays an important role in educating students to realise that they are responsible for the community they live in. Notre Dame reminds students that there is no such thing as a ‘perfect worldview’, but the best worldview is one where they are striving to make positive contributions to society as best as they can.”  

Notre Dame graduated more than 1900 students nationally across its Fremantle, Broome and Sydney campuses in 2013. Notre Dame offers a range of courses in the following schools: Arts & Sciences; Business; Education; Law; Health Sciences; Nursing & Midwifery; Medicine; Physiotherapy; and Philosophy & Theology.

Leigh Dawson: Tel (08) 9433 0569; Mob 0405 441 093;