John Paul Escarlan ordained a priest of the Catholic Church

16/09/2013

John Paul Escarlan Ordination News Story
Photography: Alphonsus Fok

On Friday 13 September, John Paul Escarlan was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Parramatta by the Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, in St Patrick’s Cathedral. More than 1200 people filled the Cathedral during the ceremony, including John Paul’s close family and relatives from the Philippines.

John Paul will bring a youthful enthusiasm and humour to his ministry. With an appreciation of the spiritual, he is very much in touch with humanity and the practicalities of the world around him.

John Paul thanked the many people who have walked with him on his path to priesthood.

“To all of you present during my priestly ordination tonight and to all those people who in one way or another have helped me during my seminary formation years, my heartfelt gratitude for your presence and support in this joyous and grace-filled moment in my life as I receive the gift of the priesthood of Jesus Christ, the eternal high priest,” he said.

John Paul’s first priestly appointment will be Assistant Priest at St Madeleine Sophie Barat Parish at Kenthurst where he celebrated his first Mass on Saturday 14 September.

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Family of Faith

John Paul Escarlan Ordination News Story
Photo: Alphonsus Fok

Born in Cebu Province in the Philippines in 1983, he credit his parents, Paloma and Paul Escarlan, with playing a major part in his original decision to enter San Carlos Seminary College in Cebu.

“My parents were my first formators, teaching me my Christian faith,” he said.

While in Year 9, John Paul became interested in reflexology. One of the requirements of the course was for students to attend Mass in order to connect spiritually with the work they would be doing, particularly when performing therapeutic massage with the sick and elderly.

“During the course I realised the importance of the Mass and how it nourishes us. I started to come to church because I wanted to,” he said. Yet John Paul admits his early decision to enter the seminary was based mainly on study opportunities.

“In my first year I was not really serious. It was later that I realised the calling to priesthood was getting stronger.”

He outlined the four aspects of seminary life: “Intellectual, which is our studies; human, which focuses on ourselves; pastoral, which is how we live and relate to others; and spirituality, which is our relationship with God.” It was as he explored spirituality further that he realised he wanted to become a priest.

Moving to Australia

John Paul Escarlan Ordination News Story
Photo: Alphonsus Fok

As he prepared to enter his final years in the seminary in Cebu, John Paul was offered the chance to complete his studies in Australia and in 2007 he entered the Diocese of Parramatta’s Holy Spirit Seminary at St Marys.

The seminary relocated to Harris Park in August this year.

As a seminarian his pastoral placements have included the parishes of Our Lady of the Rosary, St Marys; St John the Evangelist, Riverstone; St Nicholas of Myra, Penrith; and St Michael’s & St Patrick’s parishes, Blacktown.

His placements also included the Catholic deaf community at the Ephpheta Centre in Punchbowl, which is part funded by the Diocese of Parramatta.

The centre organises Mass which is accessible for the deaf on the third Sunday of each month at 11am at Our Lady of Lourdes Church at Seven Hills.

Photo Gallery: Ordination to the Priesthood of John Paul Escarlan

Is God calling you?

John Paul Escarlan Ordination News Story
Photography: Alphonsus Fok

John Paul encourages men considering a vocation to priesthood to have the courage to say “yes” to God and to make sure they have a calling.

“Ask, am I really called? Do I have a vocation or am I just obsessed with the idea of being a priest?” he said. “Look at the practical aspects, not just the spiritual. To assist you in your discernment, talk to spiritual directors and family. You need affirmation from others that you have the potential to be a priest. But, ultimately, it is not what we decide but is what God discerns for us in His service to the Church.”

All young men who feel God may be calling them to the priesthood are invited to the Diocese of Parramatta’s vocation discernment afternoon on Sunday 22 September.

For more information please contact the Vocations Director, Fr Warren Edwards, tel 0409 172 700 or email vocations@parra.catholic.org.au 

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