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 Jack spoke to Catholic Outlook about his upcoming ordination.
Catholic Outlook: What comes to mind when thinking you will become a priest on 30 November?
Jack Green: Many things come to mind – the joy of being a priest, the responsibility of the office, all the things I will have to get used to, the closing of one chapter in my life and the opening of another, and all the things I have to organise before then!
CO: How important will that day be for you, your family and friends?
JG: This day is something that my family and friends have been waiting for for some years now. They are all quite excited and relieved that it is actually happening.
For my own part, this day will be, I hope, something I remember and hold close for the rest of my days.
It is both the completion and the beginning of what I believe God has asked of my life.
CO: How has your parish placement been? What experiences have you had?
JG: My parish placement has been fantastic.
The people of Sacred Heart, Westmead and their priest, Fr Walter have been more than generous toward me and they made me feel right at home.
I have had the privilege of baptising some children of the parish, teaching sacramental classes, preaching, and getting to know the people here, and have loved every minute of it.
CO: What has been a highlight of parish placement?
JG: One highlight for me has been baptising.
It is such an intimate moment between God, the child, their family, and indeed the family of the Church, and to be an instrument in that moment is an awesome privilege.
I thank God for the great joy of bringing these little ones into the great family of the Church.
CO: Why did you decide to become a priest?
JG: The reason I pursued this vocation was that I had this desire in my heart to give my whole life to Jesus Christ so that he could be known and loved by others, just as I had come to know and love him.
Associated with this desire was the thought of the priesthood – that was a life where I could give everything for him to be known and loved.
At first, the idea of the priesthood was most unwelcome – I did not want to be a priest despite having this desire.
But the more this desire grew in me, the more I became attracted to the idea of the priesthood, particularly after World Youth Day in Madrid.
So I prayed, I sought some advice from people trusted, and I joined the seminary in 2012.
Since then, my motives for becoming a priest have not dramatically changed, but they have been purified, refined, matured.
CO: What sort of support do you have around you that you can turn to when priestly duties might seem overwhelming?
JG: I am very lucky to have a lot of support.
My family has always been a great support for me and I have always had some very close friends to whom I can turn when I need to.
I have also had the fortune of getting to know some very wise and holy priests and teachers in my time in the seminary and I’m sure they will be a great support for me in the years ahead, as will my ordination class.
We have been through a lot together and we will go through a lot together. I’m glad I have some great blokes to go through it with.
I also have a futsal and Oztag team that help me.
Sport is a great outlet for me and a wonderful divergence from other things. They probably help me more than they realise.
CO: Can you describe seminary life?
JG: Seminary life, like other good, formative things in life, is both a blessing and a curse, both maddening and maturing, frustrating and fun.
It is mixture of prayer, study, reflection, pastoral work, pranks, sport, seeing family and friends, and whole host of other activities.
You live with guys you have not chosen to live with (and thus all that goes along with that), but with guys who are choosing the same thing as you.
This collective effort to become the best man of God one can is something that has marked my experience of seminary life with those other guys.
CO: What was a highlight of seminary life?
JG: I’ve been able to encounter people and situations I probably would not have otherwise encountered and I have certainly learnt things I would not have otherwise learnt.
Perhaps most significantly, I have been able to form bonds with other young men discerning a call to the priesthood.
This has proved pivotal in my own formation and will, I believe, prove pivotal in the presbyterate in the years to come.
CO: Is there one or two aspects of priestly life that you are looking forward to?
JG: I am, understandably, very much looking forward to saying Mass. But I am also looking forward to hearing people’s confessions.
I have been blessed by some very important experiences of confession in my life and I hope I can be, like those priests were for me, real heralds of the Father’s love and mercy for his children.
CO: Where will your first Mass be? What do you think that will be like?
JG: The details of my ‘first Mass’ aren’t decided yet.
However, I do anticipate that it will be unlike anything I’ve experienced before.
I think it will be one of those things that human words fail to capture.
Of course, I will most definitely be nervous, but I hope my voice is steady enough to be able to say everything.
CO: Who would you like to thank for helping you get to this point?
JG: There are several people who must be thanked after God, Our Lady, and my other heavenly friends.
My family are the most obvious. They have helped form me into the man I am and will be.
Fr John O’Neill [Parish Priest of St John Vianney Parish, Doonside] showed me for many years the love of a father’s heart, a priestly heart, and I must thank him for that.
The rector of the seminary, Fr John Hogan, has also showed me great kindness, patience, and generosity in his role in my formation. His advice is always appreciated.
There are many others to thank too but there is so little space, but I must finish by thanking the seminarians and my class mates.
You have all helped me in your own ways and I look forward, God willing, to serving God and his people for many years with you.
CO: Any other final thoughts or comments you would like to share Catholic Outlook readers?
JG: Please pray for me, for my class mates, for the seminarians, and for your own priests.
This is a time when many would say that a young man should not become a priest, but it is precisely the time when we need them.
Pray that we all may be faithful and that our hearts may be full of the love of God.
Deacon Jack Green will be Ordained to the Priesthood on 30 November 2018.