Western Sydney’s newest priests reflect on their first year in ministry
On 30 November 2018, the Catholic Church in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains was blessed with the ordination of four new priests.
Fr Galbert Albino, Fr Jessie Balorio, Fr Christopher del Rosario and Fr Jack Green were ordained as priests for the Diocese of Parramatta by Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, on the Feast of St Andrew.
One year on from their ordination, Catholic Outlook spoke to the new priests about what they have learnt and enjoyed in their first year in ministry.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Fr Jessie Balorio was not available for an interview.
Fr Christopher del Rosario, assistant priest at St Patrick’s Cathedral Parish, Parramatta
Catholic Outlook: How has your parish placement been?
Fr Christopher del Rosario: My first appointment at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta, has been incredible. I’ve been able to put all that I’ve learned over my seven years of formation into practice and it’s been an absolute blessing. I’m thankful to the community here as they have been extremely welcoming and supportive since I started. They’ve pushed me to deepen my love for Jesus Christ, which in turn has helped me grow as a priest. I’m extremely thankful to Fr Bob Bossini, Dean of the Cathedral, and the parish staff for journeying with me over this past year.
CO: What has been a highlight of your first year as a priest?
CdR: Other than being able to celebrate Mass on a daily basis, I was blessed to prepare a man’s soul for death. A friend of mine contacted me saying his grandfather was passing. He wasn’t too sure when he would die, so I made an effort to visit him every day, conferring the sacraments of Eucharist and Anointing. After a week or so, his grandfather quietly passed away surrounded by his family. Upon reflection, I couldn’t think of a more beautiful and comforting death than to be spiritually prepared to meet the Lord whist being surrounded by one’s family. This has certainly been one of my highlights.
CO: How have you got through the challenges that you might have faced in your first year as a priest?
CdR: Prayer and support. The life of the priest has to be centred on Jesus Christ. Without a deep love for Him, the priestly vocation loses its meaning. As such, prayer is an essential part of my day and is a constant reminder of my need for Christ in every moment of my life. Additionally, good support has assisted me. Fr Bob has been a pillar of support over this year. I can’t thank him enough for his guidance over this past year.
CO: How has it felt being able to celebrate and consecrate the Eucharist?
CdR: It’s difficult to put into words the reality before your very eyes. At one point, it’s just bread and wine, next it’s the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. A great sense of joy and excitement comes when celebrating the Eucharist, but also an acknowledgement of unworthiness, as I know I’m not truly worthy to celebrate His most beautiful sacrament. Ultimately, I’m grateful to God that He’s blessed me with this vocation which has allowed me to celebrate the source and summit of our faith.
CO: You said in an interview with Catholic Outlook before your ordination that you were looking forward to administering the sacrament of Penance as a priest, as “it’s a wonderful thought to be able to forgive one’s sins.” How has it felt to welcome the penitent back to Christ?
CdR: Welcoming a penitent back is one of the most joyous occasions. In this sacrament, God welcomes with open arms His lost child. It’s a beautiful thought to reflect on as we all have our shortcomings. But to know that God draws you back through the priest, who is just an instrument, is truly beautiful. Some of the most beautiful transformations has come through the sacrament of Penance. I’ll spare you the details.
CO: What do you hope your second year of being a priest brings?
CdR: I’m not too sure to be honest. I don’t know what God has in store for me. I do know that God has given me this wonderful opportunity to be a priest and I hope and pray that I be faithful throughout my years as a priest.
Catholic Outlook’s interview with Fr Jack Green will be published tomorrow.
To read Catholic Outlook’s interview with Fr Galbert Albino, click here.
VIEW: Images from the ordinations here or below.