The Catholic Foundation Diocese of Parramatta supports works of Faith, Hope and Charity across Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains. Our current appeal seeks to build support for the Holy Spirit Seminary. If you would like to help, please click here to make a donation today.
“There will always be a need for Jesus Christ, and the priest fulfils that need in the fallen world. We act in Christ with respect to divine love, divine mercy and divine compassion, as the channel between the people of God, and God and his people.” – Father John Hogan, Rector of the Holy Spirit Seminary
My dear people,
The priesthood is essential to the life of our Church. Priests are leaders of our Christian community and accompany us on our individual faith journeys. They bring comfort and they guide in a multitude of ways throughout people’s lives. We celebrate with them; as well as seek their support during times of hardship and tests of faith.
Priests devote their lives in service to the community, from administering the sacraments to offering pastoral care and spiritual guidance. They represent Christ, the Good Shepherd, His compassion, care, acceptance and mercy, in our churches, schools, hospitals, prisons, and throughout our community.
The journey to a life of service as a priest and missionary of the Gospel requires study, practical experience and spiritual guidance. More importantly, it also means connecting with God through prayerful contemplation, to deepen their faith and answer His call.
Father Galbert Albino first heard God’s call as a young man in the Philippines:
“When I was young I had the desire to serve God and become a priest. I started in the seminary after high school and was there five years taking my Philosophy degree. I didn’t want to leave my family, but I felt that if you are willing to serve, you can serve the people not just in your area, you can go anywhere that God leads you.” – Fr Galbert Albino.
The mission of the Holy Spirit Seminary in Harris Park is to prepare future priests like Father Galbert for the Diocese of Parramatta, training them to be true shepherds of Christ’s flock wherever they are called to serve Him.
The Seminary prepares priests through human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral formation. While there is a focus on theological and philosophical study and discussion, seminarians spend a lot of time in prayer, deepening their relationship with God and with each other. They also engage in everyday social and recreational activities such as sports, cards and listening to music.
David Sebastian is currently in his fourth year at Holy Spirit Seminary. Like Father Galbert, his calling came quite early in life:
“As a child there was something about the priesthood that was so special. It took a couple of years before I understood what that all meant, so I came to the Holy Spirit Seminary after finishing Year 12.
Now I’m trying to understand what my vocation is and how to better understand the call that God has given me, particularly in serving Him and His people.
I have grown so much in my faith and my love of the Lord here, and this has already helped with the pastoral activities I take part in, in my parish and the community.” – Seminarian David Sebastian.
We are truly blessed to have young men like David and Father Galbert who have committed themselves to a journey of vocational discernment in our diocese. Seminarians are formed with the people and for the people, not for themselves.
Today, I invite you to be the extended formation community for our diocese’s seminarians through your prayer, accompaniment, and support.
In general, the formation of a Catholic priest takes seven years, and the Holy Spirit Seminary relies on generous gifts from our community to support these young men to prepare for a lifetime of service.
Following his formation, Father Galbert was ordained last year and is now serving our community as an assistant priest at St Aidan’s Parish, Rooty Hill.
“I love doing my ministry here because this is where I was nurtured, where I grew more of my faith and my vocation. So I really feel at home.
The Holy Spirit Seminary prepared me to be sent to this parish. Our rector, Father John, actively helped us to understand what other people are going through in life and how to understand their trials and struggles well, especially when it comes to their spiritual needs.
Now that I’ve become a priest, people are coming to me not just for advice but for sacraments like confession. In that sense, I am able to nourish their faith and their relationship with God.” – Fr Galbert Albino.
The call to the priesthood is one of the most powerful signs of God’s presence in our lives, and the ordination of Father Galbert along with three of his fellow seminarians is a sign of hope and renewal of His everlasting love for His people in our diocese.
At the Seminary we have 15 young men who have opened their hearts to the voice of the Holy Spirit, calling them to be disciples of Jesus who will selflessly serve His people through the Sacraments and the preaching of the Gospel by their words and deeds.
Our community is growing, and we need to respond by developing more priests to proclaim the word of Jesus Christ and His message of love and salvation to the people.
Pope Francis reminds us that “all Christians are called to be missionaries of the Gospel.” As members of the Catholic community, we have an obligation to support these men who have answered God’s call to ensure the future of our Church.
I am humbled by your continued willingness to support the life of our Church. Will you put your faith into action again today?
It comes to us as a promise that the Lord will never leave his Church without priests to guide them, and it is my fervent hope that all the men who are called by God in our diocese will have the opportunity to answer.
Through your generosity, faith and prayers, the seminarians of the Holy Spirit Seminary can prepare for a life of community service and ensure the future of our Church.
Thank you for your kind-hearted generosity.
May God’s blessings be with you.
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv
Bishop of Parramatta
Please give generously to the Bishop’s Good Shepherd Appeal to support our seminarians on their journey to the priesthood, so they can prepare for a life of service to our community.
To donate to the Parramatta Catholic Foundation Bishop’s Good Sheperd Appeal, visit yourcatholicfoundation.org.au/appeal.