The Ordination to the Priesthood of Deacon Jack Green, Deacon Jessie Balorio, Deacon Chris del Rosario and Deacon Galbert Albino will take place on 30 November 2018 at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta.
In this interview Deacon Chris spoke to Catholic Outlook about his upcoming ordination.
Catholic Outlook: What comes to mind when thinking you will become a priest on 30 November?
Chris del Rosario: A great sense of happiness and joy, together with awe and amazement.
I’ve been a Catholic all my life and witnessed the Sacrifice of the Mass countless times. To hear and witness Christ coming down to us in the form of bread and wine and to think that soon I’ll be able to do that is amazing.
I know I’ll never be worthy enough to do such things but I’ll always remember the words of Fr Greg Morgan when I first discerned the vocation to the priesthood, “God makes worthy the unworthy.” Lord help me be a good and holy priest.
CO: How important will that day be for you, your family and friends?
CdR: This will certainly go down as one of the most important days of my life.
I’m eternally grateful to God for choosing me to be one of his priests and my only desire is to serve Him and His Church for the rest of my life. I know for my family and friends this is a huge day.
My family in particular have been and continue to be a tower of strength throughout. They’ve seen me grow and mature since joining the seminary and have continued to pray for me all this time. I know they’ll be there praying and supporting me for the rest of my years.
CO: How has your parish placement been? What experiences have you had?
CdR: My placement at the Parish of Richmond has been a wonderful experience.
Since moving here I’ve been welcomed with open arms by the community. They’ve allowed me to be part of their lives which is something I’m forever grateful for.
Since being ordained a Deacon I’ve administered the sacrament of baptism many times. These moments are truly times of joy as I get to witness a child being welcomed into the family of God. Joy truly sums it up.
CO: What has been a highlight of parish placement?
CdR: One aspect of parish placement that brings me great joy is school visitation.
The Parish of Richmond is home to many students, particularly from St Monica’s Primary and Bede Polding College. I visit these schools on a weekly basis and interact with the kids in a friendly way.
I’ve had profound experiences with kids in these schools, they constantly challenge me to grow in my faith and to learn more. They also exhibit that childlike approach which is crucial in our relationship with the Lord. Being a part of both schools has definitely been a highlight for me.
CO: Why did you decide to become a priest?
CdR: To be completely honest I never wanted to be a priest growing up.
I saw my parents and wanted to be exactly like them [Deacon Chris is one of nine children]. However, after attending World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid and experiencing the beauty of the Sacrifice of the Mass and Eucharistic Adoration the idea of family seemed to dwindle and the thought of the priesthood grew and grew.
At first it was a worrying thought, I didn’t think I would be happy being a priest. However, after taking a leap of faith and entrusting my vocational journey to Our Blessed Mother I can say I’ve never been happier. In following God’s call, one truly finds joy and happiness.
CO: What sort of support do you have around you that you can turn to when priestly duties might seem overwhelming?
CdR: I’m blessed to have a great relationship with my family and friends.
Family of course is my first point of call. My parents, despite not living at home the past seven years, still give me sound advice when I need it.
They always have pearls of wisdom that come out when I need it the most. My brothers and sisters too give me strength. Being part of a family with nine kids means you’re never short of a conversation. Being around them allows me to relax and recharge during those hard times.
My friends too give me additional strength. The greatest gift I have from each of them is knowing that they are all praying for me.
CO: Can you describe seminary life?
CdR: Seminary life is a wonderful opportunity for a man to discern God’s call for him.
I remember the Rector, Fr John Hogan, saying to us in our first year that the seminary is designed to form good men.
Upon hearing this I thought he had made a mistake. Surely the seminary forms priests? However, upon reflection I realised he was right. Seminary is designed to first form good virtuous men so that they will have all the tools and proper relationship with the Lord to be, God willing, good holy priests. If one sticks with seminary formation one grows in person.
CO: What was a highlight of seminary life?
CdR: I think the biggest highlight of seminary life is the fraternity.
This is not restricted to the diocese but extends to neighbouring dioceses. In this we journey with each other as we aspire to grow in our love for the Lord. We are able to lean on each other in our struggles and uphold one another in our joys.
Fraternity builds that brotherly love and respect needed in the presbyterate.
CO: Is there one or two aspects of priestly life that you are looking forward to?
CdR: Obviously the celebration of the Sacrifice of the Mass is one aspect of priestly life that I’m really looking forward to.
To be able to bring Heaven on Earth through the words of consecration is a miracle in of itself.
The sacrament of Penance is another aspect that I look forward to. To sit there in the person of Christ before someone who is broken, hear their sins, and absolve them is truly wonderful. The penitent receives pardon and peace in their humble act. It’s a wonderful thought to be able to forgive one’s sins.
CO: Where will your first Mass be? What do you think that will be like?
CdR: I’ll be celebrating my first Mass at my home parish of Our Lady of the Angels in Rouse Hill. Growing up there I know the community is very close.
They’ve kept tabs on me throughout my vocational journey and so it will be a great joy for me to celebrate Mass there for the first time. I know there will be a few tears from my family and friends of the parish and I’m honestly very excited.
CO: Who would you like to thank for helping you get to this point?
CdR: There are so many people here that I could thank but I’d like to highlight a few.
Firstly my parents; I honestly can’t thank them enough for bringing and nurturing me in the faith. They pushed me to be the best that I can be, even if it meant being tough on me on more than one occasion. They’re loving example to each other and to my brothers and sisters has only strengthened my desire to be a priest of Jesus Christ; to serve and not to be served.
I’d also like to thank Fr Warren Edwards, parish priest of Our Lady of the Angels, Rouse Hill. It was through him that I started to get involved in parish life and through his efforts I was able to attend World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid where I received my vocation. Additionally his support throughout my years in the seminary have been second to none. He’s been a great example of what it means to be a priest.
CO: Any other final thoughts or comments you would like to share Catholic Outlook readers?
CdR: I’d like to implore those who read this article, their family and friends, to please pray for all priests. The witness of each Christian is truly valuable, but one can never underestimate the presence of the priest. Through him the faithful encounter Christ for the priest is truly Alter Christus, another Christ. Of course we can never forget the priest is also human, they fall just like everyone else. That is why we need to pray for our priests. Pray that they be forever faithful to Him who they love and the Church who they serve.
Deacon Chris del Rosario will be Ordained to the Priesthood on 30 November 2018.