Menard Gaspi: Holiness of life must precede priesthood

By Mary Brazell, 8 May 2024
Seminarian Menard Gaspi. Image: Alphonsus Fok/Diocese of Parramatta


On Saturday 11 May, seminarian Menard Gaspi will be ordained to the diaconate by Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, in front of family, friends and supporters at St John XXIII Parish, Glenwood-Stanhope Gardens. Ahead of his ordination, he spoke to Catholic Outlook about his journey towards ordination and what he is most looking forward to in his ministry.


Catholic Outlook: Why did you decide to become a priest?

Menard Gaspi: From a young age I believe God has planted a seed of service in my heart. I have found that it is in ministry to the people of God that this seed has borne fruit in my life. I am humbled that God would call me to fulfilment and fruitfulness by spiritual fatherhood. I am drawn to the Ministry of bringing the light of Christ into the darkness of people’s lives.


What called you to the priesthood?

My last year of high school, I had a profound experience of the love of God and the joy of the Gospel. I witnessed how this love and joy could transform my life and the lives of young people around me. I remember being amazed at the opportunity to help other young people feel this love and joy. In front of the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, offering His heart to me, I chose to give my heart to Him and His people, the Church.


Seminarian Menard Gaspi (right) during his Rite of Admission to Candidacy during Mass for the commencement of the academic year of the Holy Spirit Seminary at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta. Image: Diocese of Parramatta


What role does God the Father play in your life?

I believe the Father has me in His loving embrace at all times. When I first truly understood His Fatherhood and my vocation as His son, it completely transformed the way I love myself and relate with others.


What role does Mother Mary play in your life?

My dear Mama has always been my tender resource whenever I have felt the difficulties and crises of life. She is my role model for love and discipleship.


Are there any saints you have a devotion to?

I have a particular devotion to St Philomena, my little sister who has given me inspiration and direction in loving Jesus. I also have a devotion to St Gregory the Great, who has become my role model of service to Christ and His Church.


Can you describe seminary life?

I have experience with three different seminaries, each providing different insights into community life. I am particularly drawn to the brotherhood in seminary life. The calling, the formation, the community, the crises, hardships and difficulties draw us together as brothers. It builds a bond that lasts for generations.


Has there been a highlight of seminary life?

I believe a major highlight of my time in the seminary was witnessing the ordination of Fr Adam Carlow, Fr Matthew Dimian, and Fr Jack Elkazzi. They were seminarians in formation when I had entered. To see them complete their formation and commit to the priesthood has been a great inspiration and source of hope for my own journey.


Seminarians from the Diocese’s Holy Spirit Seminary (L-R) Jeffrey Hood, Jose Valentine Lim, Menard Gaspi, Paul Tran, Macky Amores and Jason Irawan. Missing is Luke Huynh. Image: Diocese of Parramatta


Pope Francis has urged priests to reach out to the poor and those on the margins of our society and Church community. How do you envisage doing this in your priestly ministry?  

I believe an important part of ministry is empowering people to live out their baptismal calling. A prominent responsibility of a priest is to encourage his flock to reach out to those in need. I envision this outreach to be a communal activity rather than personal.


Are there any aspects of diaconate life that you are looking forward to?

I am particularly looking forward to the proclamation of the Gospel and the teaching ministry of a Deacon. I believe the word of God is waiting to be planted in people’s hearts and setting hearts on fire.


How has your parish placement been? What has been a highlight of your time? 

I am currently assigned to the parish of St John XXIII, Glenwood-Stanhope Gardens. I arrived in the community in February 2024 after a year at Sacred Heart Parish, Luddenham-Warragamba. It has been quite the transition moving to a bigger parish, but I am looking forward to the great things God will do here. I believe the highlight of this placement has been reconnecting with some of the young people I met during the Diocesan World Youth Day pilgrimage to Lisbon last year.


How important will the day of your ordination to the diaconate be for you, your family and friends?

This is the day that I have been waiting for so long. I believe I have been patient, allowing the Lord to lead me where He will. Family and friends have supported, encouraged and motivated me throughout my journey. This day is also a testament to their love for me.


Seminarian Menard Gaspi (fourth right) with members of his family following his Rite of Admission to Candidacy during Mass for the commencement of the academic year of the Holy Spirit Seminary at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta. Image: Diocese of Parramatta


Have you received any great advice on your vocational journey?

“Life is a marathon, not a sprint.” This quote has given me much food for thought, hope, and patience. When I reflect, I am amazed by my own patience and perseverance. Sometimes I cannot believe I survived. I am grateful that I learned as a young seminarian that holiness of life must precede the priesthood. This mindset offered me great wisdom and insight for growth and maturity.


Who would you like to thank for helping you get to this point?

In a very special way, I would like to thank my mother Eleanor and my father Michael for the love and care they have given me throughout life. I am deeply grateful for the love sacrifice and nourishment throughout my journey. I also thank my sister Gayla and my brothers Renan and Abbel for their unwavering support, love, and affection. My family has helped me recognise God’s love and presence in my life.


What message do you have to other young men discerning a vocation to the priesthood?

For all young men and women discerning a call to the priesthood and consecrated life, I encourage you to take time and effort in allowing God to speak into your heart. Offer some time to escape from the inordinate demands of life and speak to Him with your heart. For those who haven’t thought about it, THINK ABOUT IT!


Any other thoughts or comments you would like to share with Catholic Outlook readers?

To those in Parramatta and beyond, I would like to express my sincere and deepest gratitude for your support prayers and encouragement. Without your help, I would not be able to reach this point. I look forward to serving you and the Diocese. Please continue to pray for our seminarians, the promotion of vocations and support the seminary. Thank you.


For those unable to attend Menard’s ordination in person, the Diocese of Parramatta will be providing a livestream accessible to all. It can be found on the Diocese of Parramatta’s YouTube channel: 

To find out more about discerning your vocation, please visit If you feel called to the priesthood, contact our Director of Priestly Vocations, Fr Galbert Albino, on


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