Holy Spirit Seminary a seeding ground for authentic disciples

'The experience of the old can complement the energy and enthusiasm of the young.'
Holy Spirit Seminary complex includes historic Kenilworth House, the new residence for seminarians and James Dixon House for retired priests. Image: Diocese of Parramatta/Alphonsus Fok.

On 18 February 2017, Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv blessed and officially opened the Seminary of the Holy Spirit Residence and James Dixon House at Harris Park in Western Sydney.

The new accommodation will be home for 16 seminarians for the Diocese of Parramatta and two seminarians for the Maronite Diocese of St Maroun.

Image: Diocese of Parramatta/Alphonsus Fok.

James Dixon House for retired priests is named for the convict priest who celebrated the first officially approved Mass in the colony of NSW in 1803. The first priest in residence is Fr Joseph Thomas.

To view a gallery of photos of the day, click here.

Originally, seminarians from our Diocese did their training in the seminary of the Archdiocese of Sydney. In 1993, the second Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Kevin Manning, established a House of Priestly Formation in the suburb of St Marys. In 2008, Bishop Kevin established Holy Spirit Seminary with Very Rev John Hogan as Rector and Very Rev Chris de Souza EV as Vice Rector.

In 2013, the third Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, moved the seminary to Kenilworth House, a Victorian-era building in the Italianate style at Harris Park.

The ceremony on Saturday 18 February this year was the culmination of more than five years’ work, which included the restoration of Kenilworth House, the new accommodation for retired priests and residence for seminarians. The residence has 21 rooms, each with ensuite, the Rector’s quarters, a kitchen and communal dining area, a library and a shared recreational space.

Speaking at the blessing and opening, Bishop Vincent said there was an integral connection between James Dixon House and Holy Spirit Seminary. “It’s not quite like the progressive nursing home. But … It is our hope that the wisdom and experience of the old can complement the energy and enthusiasm of the young,” he said.

Image: Diocese of Parramatta/Alphonsus Fok.

“It is our hope too that this place will be a seeding ground, a nursery and a school for authentic Christian disciples who will, in turn, make disciples of others. It is only through the gift of the Holy Spirit and our openness to accept that gift, that we recognise our calling and strive to follow Jesus and his Gospel.

“It is my hope and my passion that the Holy Spirit Seminary, which is the pride and the future of our Diocese, will form men into servants of the humble, listening and accompanying church. It is my hope and passion that they will be like the new wineskins, capable of containing and channelling that new superior and abundant wine of God’s love, mercy and inclusion that the people are thirsting for.”

To read the Bishop’s address, click here.

On Sunday 26 February 2017, Bishop Vincent will celebrate Mass with the commencement of the Seminary Academic Year at 11.00am in St Patrick’s Cathedral, 1 Marist Place, Parramatta. Everyone is welcome.

If you feel as though God may be calling you to the priesthood, the Diocese of Parramatta welcomes the opportunity to help you with your discernment.

In February 2017, Bishop Vincent appointed Fr John Paul Escarlan Director of Priestly Vocations. Fr John Paul is the first point of contact and is always available to listen, offer guidance and talk you through the admissions process.

For more information, please contact Fr John Paul tel 0420 310 771 or send an email to vocations@parra.catholic.org.au

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