STRONG FAITH: Matthew Popovic traded in a career with the Army to study as a priest.
STRONG FAITH: Matthew Popovic traded in a career with the Army to study as a priest. Matt Collins

Army twins turn focus to serving God

A KINGAROY student priest had his eyes set on joining the Defence Force before a chance encounter turned his focus to God.

Strangely enough his twin brother had the exact same experience.

Growing up, 21-year-old Matthew Popovic and his brother Thomas were both set on a career in the army.

"Towards the end of Year 12 I thought maybe the Defence Force was the go,” he said.

"I made the application for the Army because I wanted to stand for something.

"But instinctively I felt this wasn't it.”

Through his church, Mr Popovic and his brother had met a group of young people who seemed to have life sorted out.

"They had something attractive, something very tangible, they were really happy and joyful,” he said.

"I realised what I wanted to stand for, it was my faith.”

The young student priest and his identical twin brother were born into the Catholic Church.

"I always had a strong belief,” he said.

"I always knew God exists, I didn't have trouble with that.”

Mr Popovic did not think it was unusual that his identical brother and himself had both chosen the same unique career path.

"I guess it isn't so surprising,” he said.

"Our journeys are really closely linked, we grew up with similar interests.”

Currently based at the Saint Mary's Catholic Church, Mr Popovic is under the guidance of popular priest, Father Chukwudi.

"I have learnt a lot from him, he is very energetic,” he said.

"He has built lots of relationships with plenty of people.

"He doesn't sit back locked in his office, he tries to engage and be there for others.”

Mr Popovic said he was not deterred by the many possible distractions available to a young twenty-something male.

"Roman Catholic tradition means a celibate life which is basically a commitment to the people of God,” he said.

"It is a full-time commitment.

"Realistically, being married to someone and having kids would take away my focus and be a distraction.”

The student priest will be based in Kingaroy until December 16 and then he heads back to Brisbane to see family for the Christmas period.

"We are encouraged to go back and spend time with the local parish and family,” he said.

"Personally I'm looking forward to getting together with everyone.”

Mr Popovic is confident he has made the right long-term career choice.

"My hope is to one day be a chaplain in the military,” he said.

"Once upon a time I saw the two as separate and couldn't match up.

"But these things can go hand-in-hand.”

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