Fr Andrew reflects on his first year in priestly ministry

By Mary Brazell, 20 October 2023
Fr Andrew Rooney delivers a homily at the Basilica of St Theresa during the Diocese of Parramatta's 2023 World Youth Day pilgrimage in Ávila, Spain. Image: Diocese of Parramatta


In August 2022, the Diocese of Parramatta joyfully celebrated the ordination of its first priest since 2018.

Fr Andrew Rooney was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta, on Friday 26 August 2022.

RELATED: Diocese of Parramatta welcomes its newest priest

One year on from his ordination, Catholic Outlook spoke with Fr Andrew about the joys of his first year in priestly ministry and how he is growing closer to Christ.

Fr Andrew is currently ministering at Mary, Queen of the Family Parish, Blacktown.


Catholic Outlook: How has your parish placement been over your first year as a priest?

Fr Andrew Rooney: I have thoroughly enjoyed and I am very grateful for both of my appointments to St Michael’s, Baulkham Hills, and Mary, Queen of the Family, Blacktown. They have both provided fertile ground as I learn to exercise my new ministry. And though the life of ministry is accompanied by various challenges, I have always been received warmly and encouraged by the people of God.


CO: What has been a highlight of your first year as a priest?

AR: Though it is hard to choose, especially as I have had many “firsts” in my first year of priesthood, definitely the World Youth Day pilgrimage was a highlight.


CO: How would your parishioners describe you? 

AR: Haha! I think you would have to ask them. Probably as “the singing priest”.


CO: How has it felt being able to celebrate and consecrate the Eucharist?

AR: It has been an extraordinary privilege to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I am often found in complete amazement at Mass, particularly during the elevation of the sacred species, that I am priest, that I am actually doing it! It is a daily reminder to me that I must constantly conform to the person of Christ, the High Priest, and offer my life to His bride, the Church.


Fr Andrew Rooney consecrates the Eucharist during his first Mass at St Padre Pio Parish, Glenmore Park, in August 2022. Image: Diocese of Parramatta


CO: What was it like being able to accompany young people from our Diocese at World Youth Day in Lisbon?

AR: I had a very enriching World Youth Day pilgrimage and it was truly an honour to accompany such wonderful young people and form strong friendships. It intensely emboldened my ministry, especially with youth, as I was inspired by their deep faith. Seeing the ancient faith of Europe, particularly in those many holy sites I had always wished to visit, induced a profound appreciation of the Church universal and the heritage of my own faith. I am very grateful for the opportunity and trust extended to me by the bishop to accompany him and minister with him in such a unique way.


CO: In your pre-ordination interview with us, you said, “I see my mission as expressing my deep love for the Church and trying to share a little bit of that love that might inspire people.” How do you feel you have lived this mission in your first year of priestly ministry?

AR: Probably inadequately, though I do my best to immerse myself and express the beauty of the Church in her rich spiritual and cultural treasury, most especially in my preaching, teaching, and counselling as I go about my daily work.


CO: How have you got through the challenges that you might have faced in your first year as a priest?

AR: Mostly, I am just “winging it” on a prayer. Though I am blessed to have good advisors, especially in my pastoral supervisor, and close friends in my brother priests who offer me guidance and support, many of whom are also navigating the early years of priesthood. A cold beer with friends resolves many a problem.


Fr Andrew Rooney (left) with young pilgrims from the Diocese of Parramatta during the 2023 World Youth Day pilgrimage in Paris, France. Image: Diocese of Parramatta


CO: If you had more time/resources in your parish, what would you love to do? 

AR: I could think of probably a dozen things I would like to do. I have been trying to work a lot on my marriage preparation and would love to be able to dedicate time and resources to respond to the Holy See’s invitation for catechumenal pathways for married life or even to establish full-time school chaplaincy appointments.


CO: What do you hope your second year of being a priest brings?

AR: I hope to grow more comfortable and familiar in my priestly ministry and learn to pastor in more effective ways – to grow closer to Christ and imitate Him more perfectly.


View images from Fr Andrew’s ordination to the priesthood in 2022 here or below:



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