There was joy and celebration as the newly ordained Fr Karl Sinclair returned to his home parish.
As one of his first Masses as a priest, Fr Karl came back St Anthony of Padua Parish, Toongabbie, on Sunday 1 March, to celebrate with the community of family, friends and parishioners who had watched him grow and travelled with him on his vocational journey.
Just over a week beforehand, Fr Karl was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Michael McKenna, Bishop of Bathurst, at the Cathedral of St Michael and St John, Bathurst, on Friday 21 February 2020 alongside Fr Dong Van Nguyen.
“It’s an honour and a privilege to be home,” Fr Karl told the Toongabbie congregation. “It’s been a true pleasure sharing this Mass with you all today.”
Fr Karl concelebrated Mass with parish priest Fr Joby Kadambattu Ittira MS and former parish priest Fr Paul Marshall, current parish priest of Our Lady, Queen of Peace Parish, Greystanes, in a celebration that also marked the beginning of the Lenten season.
In his homily, Fr Karl explained that the parish was a place where his faith developed and his call to vocation was sparked.
“Who am I? So much of the answer to that question for me was forged on this very site,” Fr Karl said.
“It was here that one of my first forays into ministry took place when I did a reading at my First Holy Communion.
“It was in this place where I first got to use my musical talent in liturgy. It was here that I also began to sing for God, in this place, and next door at our Antioch meetings, I learnt the power of praising God in song and turning to Him in song and prayer.
“It was down the road at the school, where I went on my first Antioch weekend, where I for the first time was challenged by the fullness of God’s unconditional love.
“This church has meant so much to me, I’ve grown and continued to flourish here for many years.
“Bathurst was where I began to make my new home, and it’s for Bathurst that I have been ordained a priest, but it was in this place that I forged my identity in Christ, and perhaps the most important day of that formation was one that I have no memory of – the day of my baptism. It was at my baptism that I truly became a child of God, and I was marked as one that is truly loved by God, I became God’s beloved Son,” Fr Karl said.
Following Mass, Fr Joby encouraged the parishioners to continue to pray for Fr Karl in his ministry, saying that the priesthood is a blessing.
“In his Ash Wednesday homily, Pope Francis said ‘we are dust in the universe, yet dust loved by God. We are dust in this earth on which God has poured out his heaven. We are dust that contains God’s dreams and God’s glory and hope. And when we allow ourselves to be shaped by God, though we are dust, we become wonderful creatures.’ This is very true and we are witnessing it in the person of Fr Karl Sinclair.
“He gave himself to God, and God has shaped him into a priest and blessed him with his priesthood and has invited him to serve His people.
“More than an achievement, I think [the priesthood] is a great blessing and opportunity to serve God’s people. The journey begins here, so as his parish family, we have a greater responsibility to continue to pray. So I invite you all to pray for Fr Karl as he begins his priestly ministry, that wherever he goes and to all the people he ministers, they may always encounter God’s love and mercy in His light through him.”
Members of the community were invited to a morning tea in the parish hall at the end of Mass, with Fr Karl bestowing his first blessings on parishioners.
From March, Fr Karl will be appointed as assistant priest at the Parish of St Mary and St Joseph, Orange, in the Diocese of Bathurst.