Holy Spirit Seminary seminarians share their stories of receiving their calling...
Christopher del Rosario
I am 21 years old and come from a family of 11. I am the eldest boy with two older sisters above and below me as well as four younger brothers. I was born in Pasay City in the Philippines and migrated to Australia along with my family in 1995.
I attended Retaval Wahroonga in Kindergarten and Year 1, and finished the remainder of my schooling years at Redfield College in Dural. I then went on to study Chiropractic Science in Macquarie University but after a wonderful pilgrimage to Spain for WYD11 I found myself questioning whether or not this was the plan God had for me.
That same year upon returning from Spain I decided to do more for the Church, I became very active in my youth group and began SRE Teaching in both Rouse Hill Primary and High School. After careful thought, prayer and plenty of talks with my parish priest, Fr. Warren Edwards, it became clear that God wanted me to enter the seminary.
Priests that have inspired me along my journey would have to be Fr. Warren Edwards, Fr. Greg Morgan, Fr. Fernando Montano and Fr. Andrew Bass. These men have guided me along my journey and have definitely aided me in the good and bad. These priests and many more show me the example of what it means to be a priest of the Lord. One who places others before themselves and truly expresses their love for God through their actions.
I have now completed my first year in seminary formation and I can honestly say it has been a joyous year. What I have experienced this past year no other career could offer me. I have been blessed by God to be on this path. I look forward to this year of formation where I am sure God will continue to bless me on this wonderful path he has given me.
I am 21 years old and come from a family of seven: three sisters and one brother (I am the middle child). We have lived in Glenbrook all our lives.
We go to St John Vianney’s Parish, Doonside, where my sister sings in the choir, my dad is a reader, and my brother and I are altar servers. We are members of the youth group and regular attendees of the All Night Vigil on Fridays.
I attended state schools in Glenbrook and Blaxland East. I graduated from high school in 2010 and was accepted into a Bachelor of Behavioural Science at the University of Notre Dame.
I had a part-time job at Subway in Penrith for nearly four years.
I completed one year of tertiary study at Notre Dame; after which, I felt God calling me elsewhere.
There was never any deep booming voice in clouds of thunder; I was never knocked off my horse; I never received a message from an angel. Instead, I heard God’s still, small voice, whispering through the sacraments, priests, His people, and various experiences I had.
After much insightful, simple, well-timed, and inconvenient advice from my parents, my pride had been worn down and I was ready to give everything I had to God and His Church.
I have been inspired by my parish priest, Fr John O’Neill, who has taught me that without Christ we are nothing. If we do not have a personal relationship with Our Lord, then life is empty and we are ineffectual.
World Youth Day in Madrid was a blessing. Being surrounded by so many people sharing the one Faith, loving the same God, brought home to me the universality of the Church and made me realise that my faith is bigger than me. This universality diluted my pride and helped me to take the steps to join the seminary.
My fellow pilgrims taught me to seek Christ’s peace, for that is where you will find your vocation.
I am 22 years old and the second oldest of seven children. I come from the vibrant parish of Our Lady of the Angels, Rouse Hill.
My primary schooling began at Undurba State School in Brisbane. When I was 13 my family moved to Sydney where I attended Redfield College. I studied at the University of Sydney for two years before entering the seminary.
From early in my life I have been attracted to the priesthood and to the idea of administering the sacraments in order to make salvation as attainable as possible for people. However, this sense of being called to the priesthood varied greatly in intensity throughout high school and at the beginning of university.
By the time I was mid-way through my second year, I found myself searching for something deeper, something that might only be fulfilled in seeking a vocation to the priesthood.
After struggling with this for many months, I decided to take the plunge and enter the seminary. I look forward to the years of formation and discernment.
If it had not been for my family’s example of love for the Church and her teachings, there is little chance that I would have considered priesthood.
My Parish Priest in Brisbane, Fr John Sullivan, was an example of the fatherliness, prayerfulness and generosity that is fundamental to the priestly life.
My high school provided daily Mass and Confession, which has enabled me to maintain my love for the sacraments.
My Parish Priest at Our Lady of the Angels, Fr Warren Edwards, has assisted me in my discernment and I am grateful for his prayers and support.
Andrew RooneyMy schooling was at St Dominic’s College, Penrith, and Bethany Catholic Primary, Glenmore Park. While trying to overlook my vocation I began a Bachelor of Music in classical vocals.
I was born in Campbelltown and for the past 18 years I have lived in Padre Pio Parish at Glenmore Park. I am the second eldest of five. My parents are Michael and Margaret Rooney.
There was no particular significant event which led to my discernment into the priesthood, rather a subtle attraction and calling which over time caused me to confront this desire and thoroughly explore my vocation.
After much discernment and discussions with Fr Warren Edwards, the Diocesan Vocations Director, I was still uneasy about my capability and worthiness to pursue such a vocation.
Following a considerable amount of reflection and prayer and through the intersession of St Dominic Savio I began to acknowledge the existence of Christ in me and others, that it was this dignity and strength which allowed us to live out God’s will, and worthiness was something to gain by submitting to this.
Aged 29 Shinto comes from Kerala in South India. At the age of 15 he joined the minor seminary for his Diocese inspired by his parish priest and other priests. “After a number of years of formation I took a break from my seminary studies for practical experience and to make my convictions stronger. I believe that God’s plan for me has led me to the Diocese of Parramatta.
“I am thankful to Fr Robert Riedling and the parishioners of Padre Pio Parish at Glenmore Park where I became involved in pastoral activities. Fr Warren Edwards also has helped me a lot in discerning my vocation.”
Aged 24, Adam has lived in the Parramatta area for most of his life. “I first found a calling to priestly life during Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Australia for World Youth Day in 2008.
“After that time, I came much closer in faith and the calling to priesthood became louder and clearer. Some of the experiences which have contributed to this calling include daily Mass, a strong prayer life, working with the less fortunate and an eye-opening mission trip to East Timor.
“I spent the past year living in religious life with the Capuchin Friars in Brisbane under the direction of Fr James Grant who was my director and who has been a strong pillar in my vocation.
“My former parish priests, Fr Michael Szymanski, Fr Oscar Osinski, Fr Albert Wasniowski and Fr Damien Mosakowski, have contributed in a special way to my vocation.
“I am hopeful and excited for what I am sure will be many blessings to come.”
Matthew is 21 and was born and raised in Sydney. “My family background is Egyptian and we are parishioners at St Mark’s Coptic Catholic Church in Prospect.
"Since a young age I believe that I have been called to be a priest. I can see myself enjoying and using my gifts and talents in the roles of priestly service. After much prayer and discernment, I believe that God is calling me to the priesthood.
“The teaching of my parents and example and companionship of my sister were irreplaceable in fostering my vocation. While at Redfield College there developed in me an urgency to follow the will of God. The holiness and the humanity of many good priests also inspired me to join.
“I hope that being here can help me pursue God’s will for me.”
(Photography: Alphonsus Fok & Grace Lu)