Where are they now – Fr James Kerr (SPC 2000-05)

February 24, 2020

The College recently reconnected with Fr James Kerr (SPC 2000-05) who after joining the priesthood, returned to SPC as College Chaplain for three years, becoming a friendly face for the boys on all matters concerning religion – and rugby.


Fr James Kerr.

Where has life taken you since leaving SPC?

I headed to Melbourne University to study engineering. While there, I discerned God was calling me to serve as a priest, so I entered formation. After ordination in 2013 I was first posted to Ballarat for three years, where I was lucky enough to work as chaplain to the College. I was then posted to sunny Mildura, where I have been for the last three.


What are your fondest memories of your time at St Patrick’s College?

Finding places to play downball at recess/lunch with the mates was always a challenge. Competition was pretty fierce! I was lucky to start my time with plenty of mates from St Thomas More and picked up plenty of new friends along the way. I should have been more sensitive to those who weren’t so blessed. I probably enjoyed our senior years the best; we had grown closer as a year group and by that stage we had started rugby up again. I had been involved in plenty of other sports, but rugby was the only one I was ever able to flourish in. I really appreciate the opportunity I had to play (and later coach).


Which teacher from your time at SPC had the greatest impact on you?

I feel awful picking favourites, because I was very well served by so many. Those I had for multiple subjects stand out. Bernadette Brouwers (English and French) was exceptional. Her generosity and enthusiasm as a teacher instilled in me a love for learning. I kept drawing on what she taught us about essay construction right into my graduate studies. Unfortunately, I wasn’t so successful with my schoolboy French when I finally made it to France last year, but at least our local guide was happy with how I pronounced her name. John Cosgriff was also a stand out. His style of teaching, presuming a level of maturity on our part, was probably the best preparation I had for tertiary studies. Actually, I was lucky enough to get a little visit from John and Jan last year as they passed through Mildura. He seems to be enjoying retirement!


How has your education shaped your professional life?

Probably one of the greatest gifts was a sense of confidence. As students we were part of a much greater history than just ourselves. Many Old Boys had done so well, so we could too.


How has your time at SPC shaped your personal values and your family life?

I think I have to mention here the great relationship our family developed with Br Breach. His joy-filled example was pivotal in my having confidence in following God’s call. There was a real peace and simplicity to him, and that opened up for me a whole realm of possibilities for fulfilment in life.


If you could pass on one message to the students of today, what would it be?

Give of yourselves. You will find more happiness in giving. Or as someone put it much better than I, “Those who lose their life shall find it.”

Fr James Kerr in Mildura.