Holy Spirit Seminary seminarians share their stories of receiving their calling...
John Paul Escarlan
I am 29 years old and was born in the Philippines in Cebu province where I grew up in Santa Fe. I come from a Catholic family and have one brother and two sisters. Both of my parents are still alive. My parish in the Philippines is Santo Niño in Santa Fe.
I finished my primary and secondary education in public schools in Santa Fe. I joined Blessed Pope John XXIII Seminary in 2000 and finished my Bachelor of Philosophy at San Carlos Seminary College in 2006 in Cebu. I entered Holy Spirit Seminary in the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta in 2007.
The primary reason that I entered the seminary is to serve God through His people in a much more special way; that is, in the form of being a priest. And I suppose that coming from a family of politicians this has introduced me into the notion of service for other people.
I believe that my parents have played a major role in my decision to enter the seminary. They brought up me and my siblings in the Catholic faith and taught us how to become good Catholic Christians.
Christopher del Rosario
I am 20 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 20 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 21 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.
I am 19 years old and from a family of eight children with me being the sixth. My family is very close and very musical. My parents met on the set of the stage production of 'The Sound of Music' and music has always been an important aspect of our lives, along with our faith.
My family has been involved in the music ministry at St Bernadette’s Parish, Castle Hill, and Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, Kellyville.
I attended Redfield College and was blessed in having access to the sacraments and spiritual direction every day of the week. I received a lot of guidance and advice from the then school chaplain, Fr Richard Umbers.
I completed my HSC and graduated in 2011 with the rest of my class who have been a massive support for me.
Fr. Rod Bray (Former Parish Priest of Merrylands) played a role in my decision to explore a vocation to the priesthood and therefore to enter the seminary. His Golden Jubilee of ordination to priesthood and his funeral last year had a great impact on me and it was inspiring to hear about all the good he did as a priest of Christ.
A talk I attended by Fr Greg Morgan at Theology on Tap in Parramatta strengthened my desire to become a priest. I have received help and encouragement from our Vocations Director, Fr Warren Edwards, and my parish priest, Fr Joseph Nguyen (Parish Priest of Kellyville).
With the help of God and the prayers of many friends and family I completed the application process and was accepted into the seminary and am currently in my second year of formation.
(Photography: Alphonsus Fok & Grace Lu)