Fr Matthew Dimian reflects on his first year in priestly ministry  

By Mary Brazell, 21 June 2024
Fr Matthew Dimian washes the feet of a parishioner during the Holy Thursday Mass at St Bernadette's Parish, Castle Hill in April 2024. 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 Matthew Dimian about some of the joys of his first year in ministry and how he is guiding his flock as the Lord’s shepherd. 

Fr Matthew is currently Assistant Priest at St Bernadette’s Parish, Castle Hill. 


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

Fr Matthew Dimian: I was recently made aware of a homily of Pope Francis in which he describes the life of a pastor. “We shepherds,” he said, “walk with our people, at times in front, at times in the middle, at times behind.” I found this to be a succinct description of my experience of the priesthood so far: walking in front to lead and guide the People of God towards the truth of God’s Word, sacramental grace, holiness of life, and ultimately to Heaven; walking in the midst of the flock as one among them, accompanying them throughout the ups and downs of life from birth to death and everything in between; and walking behind them to protect them from wolves, and to gather up the lost and broken that fall behind. This has been a great joy and I have loved every minute of it, but it has required a very steep learning curve! 

Fr Matthew Dimian (sixth left) with Bishop Vincent Long, parish staff members and catechumens at the 2024 Rite of Election at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta, in February 2024. Image: Diocese of Parramatta


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

I can’t narrow it down to one thing. The whole life of the priesthood is such a blessing. I can see the fulfilment of Our Lord’s words in Mark 10:29-30: “Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.’” While the priesthood requires sacrifices of treasure, family, energy and time, I feel that I am no poorer for having given those things. What I have gained outweighs everything I have given up. I have gained deeper relationships within the family of God, I am privileged to see God’s graces at work within people, I get to stand at the altar of Christ’s sacrifice in the person of Christ, and I get to help dispense his sacraments. And I’m being personally transformed in the process. It’s all a grace. 


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

Still a little surreal. I have not yet come to terms with the fact that I hold heaven in my hands, or that I act in persona Christi. I feel both incredibly blessed and unworthy.  

Fr Matthew Dimian consecrates the Eucharist during Mass at St Bernadette’s Parish, Castle Hill. Image: Dennis Frketic, F Studio Photography/Supplied


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

With a lot of support! The greatest challenge is that there is so much to learn: how to say Mass, hear confessions, celebrate anointings, weddings and funerals, accompany both the young and the old, the grieving and the joyful, and everyone in between. The other challenge has been managing time. There is no end to the work that can be done in a parish! “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few.” I have been blessed to have the counsel of many brother priests and the encouragement and support of parishioners, family and friends. 


How have you maintained the relationship with your fellow ordinands? 

We still see each other fairly frequently, though we are each busy at work in our parishes. I feel honoured to be serving alongside such a good bunch of men, and I have learnt a lot from their particular gifts, talents and styles that they bring to the priesthood. 


In your pre-ordination interview with Catholic Outlook, you explained you felt particularly called to spend time in the Confessional. How has this experience of being able to bring people back to God been? 

It has been a joy to sit in the confessional. It’s a place where human frailty and divine mercy meet, often making for a powerful opportunity for change. It is amazing to witness this firsthand and to be a part of making it happen. Time flies while I am in the confessional. 


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? 

It was a great opportunity to get to know the flock whom I am called to serve, where they are and what they need.   

Fr Matthew Dimian (right) with his fellow members during 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?  

I’m still passionate about catechesis! I would love to do more faith formation for adults. The Church’s teaching is incredibly rich, and I find that the Sunday homily is barely time to scratch the surface! 


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

I am hoping to grow in the love of the Lord, to refocus my time on what is most important, and to continue to discern what kind of priest Our Lord wants me to be. 


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

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


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