History will be made for the Catholic Church in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains when four seminarians will be ordained to the priesthood on Friday, November 30.
Deacon Jack Green, Deacon Christopher del Rosario, Deacon Galbert Albino and Deacon Jessie Balorio will be ordained during a Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Parramatta, celebrated by the Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Vincent Long OFM Conv.
Both Deacon Jack and Deacon Chris, who grew up in western Sydney, felt the call to priesthood after travelling on pilgrimage to World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid, Spain.
“I was attending the opening Mass”, Deacon Chris reflects, “when I had some sort of spiritual experience. I gazed into the Eucharist during the consecration and had an inkling that God was asking something of me.
“After a lot of questions and plenty of tears, I realised that God has asked priesthood of me.”
“At first the idea of the priesthood was most unwelcome”, according to Deacon Jack. “I did not want to be a priest despite having the desire.
“But the more the desire grew in me, the more I became attracted to the idea of the priesthood, particularly after World Youth Day in Madrid.”
Deacon Galbert, who started his vocation in the Philippines, but left the seminary only to return, feels his life is reflected in the Parable of the Prodigal Son.
“I had a tremendous life outside. However, God, like a good father, made me realise that the world that I was living did not give me much satisfaction, and I felt it was only Him who could complete the longings of my heart.”
Deacon Jessie, whose journey to priesthood started 19 years ago, still has the same feeling in his heart from when he first decided to follow Christ. “The attraction of living like a man-of-God sustains me. There is ‘peace within that the world could not give’.”
In light of wider society’s view on religion and the Catholic Church, a lot of people would question why four young men would want to join the priesthood.
“It takes a lot of courage to allow myself in the front line against the world that hates the Church; people that are hurt and very much angry with the Church,” Deacon Jessie says.
“I took the challenge and today, I would like to carry that cross because there is more to this life – more essential, more real.”
“This is a time when many would say that a young man should not become a priest”, Deacon Jack says, “but it is precisely the time when we need them.”
After their ordination, each priest will celebrate his first Mass over the weekend, many of whom will return to their home parish for a special celebration.
“I’ll be celebrating my first Mass at my home parish of Our Lady of the Angels, Rouse Hill”, Deacon Chris says. “They’ve [the community] 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.”
WATCH the ordinations live from 7.30pm on Friday November 30 at www.parracatholic.org/ordinations