Deacon Adam Carlow is at peace and feels reaffirmed in his ministry as he prepares to take the next step in his vocational journey.
This week, Deacon Adam, alongside Deacon Matthew Dimian and Deacon Jack Elkazzi, will be ordained to the presbyterate by Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta, in front of family and friends from across Sydney and beyond.
Speaking with Catholic Outlook ahead of his ordination, Deacon Adam that he was grateful for reaching this significant milestone.
“I’ve been in the seminary for nine to ten years, and I’m grateful to God for giving me this opportunity to live a vocation as a priest,” he said.
“It’s an absolute privilege to be ordained with Jack and Matt. I really respect those guys, I look up to them both. I’m really happy to be standing there with them and being ordained – it’s really special. I see them as my brothers.”
Baptised at Our Lady, Queen of Peace Parish, Greystanes, Deacon Adam’s family moved to Wetherill Park when he was young, and St Gertrude’s Parish, Smithfield, became his faith community.
“My mum and my grandmother used to take me to Mass every week on Sundays, and from a young age, they passed on the faith to me,” he explained.
“I remember, as a young child, every night before I used to sleep, I used to pray to Mary, Jesus and Joseph – being in conversation with them, speaking to them as if they were there. Those are some of the earliest memories I have, having that relationship with the Holy Family.”
As a teenager, alongside many of his peers, Deacon Adam fell away from the faith. In his later schooling years at Patrician Brothers’ College, Fairfield, an urge to visit the school chapel compelled him to reconnect with God.
“I hadn’t been in prayer for a long time, and when I went into that chapel and sat down and prayed, it felt like coming home. There was a reconnection there, a little spark in that chapel.
“At the end of my schooling, my religion teacher encouraged me to go to World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney. I remember that teacher being a really faithful person and a strong witness to me.
“At his invitation, I reconnected with my home parish of St Gertrude’s, and I knocked on the door and met the parish priest for the first time, Fr Albert, who took me to World Youth Day.
“It was a ‘reconversion’ experience. It was a moment where I well and truly came back to having that relationship with God.”
Following his ordination to the diaconate in January 2022, Deacon Adam has been serving the community of St Patrick’s Parish, Guildford. Once a priest, he hopes to continue to serve in school and youth ministry and visiting people in the community.
“I’ve really enjoyed delivering Holy Communion to people in the community.
“I’ve met people who aren’t in the best of circumstances, I’ve seen a lot of suffering, a lot of people who are coming to the end of their lives. It’s been a blessing to be with them every week, sitting there, bringing Holy Communion to them and spending time with them. I would describe it as walking on holy ground.
“Priestly life isn’t just getting to know the people who are coming to the church every week. There are a lot of people out in the community who don’t come to church for various reasons, so we have to go out, and there’s a real joy about going out. In seeing these people, it’s been a mutual blessing for both of us.
“I love the school we have at Guildford. I love going out into the playground and getting to know the kids and the teachers. It’s been a real joy. One of the best things about my day is having a great chat with the kids.
“[As a priest] I want people to know that they are loved very much by God, and I hope through my priestly ministry that I can be a witness to that, that I can be faithful to God and truly live my vocation faithfully.
“I pray that I will be an instrument of God’s love to others in my life and in my ministry.
“I can’t be a priest that doesn’t care, that doesn’t love others. I would like to be, as best as I can, the face of God to those around me.”
In thanking the people of the Diocese of Parramatta for their support in his vocation, Deacon Adam explained that he and his brothers have been “carried by the prayers of this Diocese” in their calling.
“I don’t think we would be able to get through and become priests without that prayer.
“The vocation to the priesthood is not just a vocation for myself, it’s a vocation for the whole Diocese and for the Church.
“I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for supporting and praying for us.
“My ordination will be a moment of surrender, as well a moment of great love and joy and experiencing God’s love.
“I am reminded of the words of the Centurion to Jesus, ‘Lord, I am not worthy’. It’s a grace to be called by God to become a priest.
“I’m excited for what’s to come.”
You are invited to celebrate Deacon Adam Carlow’s ordaination to the priesthood alongside Deacon Matthew Dimian and Deacon Jack Elkazzi by attending in-person at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta, on Thursday 2 February at 7.30pm. Wellwishers who are unable to attend in-person can tune in to the livestream, which is live, free and open to all via bit.ly/feb23ordinations.
Adam’s first Mass as a newly ordained priest will be celebrated on Sunday 5 February at the Shrine of St Bededict, St Gertrude’s Parish, Smithfield, at 10.30am.