Fr Jack Elkazzi reflects on his first year in priestly ministry 

By Mary Brazell, 19 June 2024
Fr Jack Elkazzi consecrates the Eucharist during his first Thanksgiving Mass at St Bernadette's Parish, Castle Hill, in February 2023. Image: Dennis Frketic, F Studio Photography/Supplied


On 2 February 2023, the Diocese was blessed with the ordination of three priests, Fr Adam Carlow, Fr Matthew Dimian and Fr Jack Elkazzi, by Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta.

One year on from his ordination, Catholic Outlook spoke with Fr Jack Elkazzi about some of the joys of his first year in ministry and how he is encountering Christ in different ways. 

Fr Jack is currently Assistant Priest at Our Lady, Queen of Peace Parish, Greystanes. 


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

Fr Jack Elkazzi: My parish placement over the first year has been fulfilling. It’s been a period of learning, growth, and deepening relationships with God and His People. I’ve had the opportunity to engage with various aspects of parish life, from leading liturgies to offering pastoral care, and each experience has enriched my understanding of ministry. 


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

Engaging with various aspects of parish life, from leading liturgies to engaging with youth to offering pastoral care, with each experience enriching my understanding of ministry. But my highlight, after the Mass, is hearing confession and being a witness to God’s mercy  touching the hearts of his children. 


Fr Jack Elkazzi at the parish youth group’s end of year celebration at Our Lady, Queen of Peace Parish, Greystanes. Image: Supplied


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

Acting in the Person of Christ in the Celebration, and consecration of the Eucharist, with God’s people, has been a deeply humbling and awe-inspiring experience. It’s a sacred privilege to participate in the mystery of the Eucharist and to nourish the faith community through this profound sacrament of the Body and Blood of the Lord. 


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

When challenges arise, they present themselves as opportunities for personal and spiritual growth. They are constant reminders of the importance of prayer and adoration. The importance of seeking support from fellow clergy, my spiritual director and the person I regularly visit for external pastoral supervision, help to navigate challenges with grace and resilience. 


Fr Jack Elkazzi. Image: Supplied


How have you maintained the relationship with your fellow ordinands? 

We do our best to keep in touch by catching up for dinner, etc. However, in all honesty, there is the temptation to let parish responsibilities take over. At that point, you have to remind yourself of the importance of fraternal support and company, and the upkeeping of a healthy social life. 


In your pre-ordination interview with Catholic Outlook, you explained that you hope to use your own life experiences to help all of your brothers and sisters know Christ. How do you feel you have achieved this in your first year of ministry? 

I’ve endeavoured to integrate my life experiences into my pastoral approach, seeking to relate to parishioners on a personal level and accompany them in their own journeys of faith. By sharing stories, offering empathy, and walking alongside them, I hope to help others encounter Christ in meaningful ways. 


What was it like participating in last year’s inaugural Diocesan Synod as a young priest of the Diocese? What inspired you about the faith community of the Diocese during the Assembly? 

Participating in last year’s Diocesan Synod was a remarkable experience. It was inspiring to witness the collective discernment and dedication of the Church in Parramatta, as we explored ways to strengthen our mission and outreach. The sense of unity, shared purpose, and commitment to living out the Gospel message was truly inspiring. 


Fr Jack Elkazzi (right) speaks during a session of the Diocese of Parramatta Synod Assembly at Commbank Stadium, Parramatta, on 14 October 2023. Image: Diocese of Parramatta


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

A Eucharistic revival: Focusing on how to communicate better the idea of what it means to be a community of believers gathered around the Eucharist as the source and summit of the church’s life. 


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

In my second year of being a priest, I hope to deepen my ministry further, building upon the foundation laid in the first year. I pray for continued growth in faith, deeper connections with parishioners, and new opportunities to serve God’s people with joy and dedication. 


Learn more about discerning a vocation to the priesthood on our Diocesan website. 

View images from Fr Jack’s ordination with Fr Adam and Fr Matthew and images from his first Thanksgiving Mass. 


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