Overseas priests’ deep faith
More than 15 overseas priests who serve in the Archdiocese were praised by Archbishop Christopher Prowse for their “very deep faith”.
They were gathered at the Archbishop’s House in Canberra for an annual lunch.
The priests come from across the world including India, Nigeria, the Philippines, Samoa and Singapore.
St John the Apostle assistant priest Fr Michael Stephan, who is in his first appointment as a newly ordained priest, said the priests “have a really good friendship with each other”.
They shared stories of their priestly journey, and focused on what the word ‘hope’ means to them.
Tumut parish priest Fr George Ogah reflected on the pandemic and how it had made many people including himself feel isolated.
“The lockdowns, restrictions and not being able to celebrate Mass with people were very difficult for me,” he said.
“My one message was that at the end of the tunnel there is always a bright light, and in every difficult situation the light of Christ will prevail.”
He said he was grateful for the friendships he has made with other priests because he came to Australia without family.
Archbishop Christopher prayed and thanked them for their service in living out the Word of the Lord.
“You bring very deep faith and an expression of the Catholic Church universally to a rural Archdiocese which is much-admired,” he said.
“I hope that when you look back on your priesthood you can say some of the best years of your life were spent here in the Canberra and Goulburn Archdiocese.”
Aren’t the priests from overseas committed to a life within the Archdiocese. Are they only here for a short period of time? We need stability and continuity within our parishes. Let us pray for priestly vocations within our Australian young men!
We have learnt a lot from the way they share their faith. I was fortunate to have joined fr George doing the communion in the home whilst he was in Cooma. I am very grateful to him for the Farwell service for my Aunt in Tumut on Christmas eve 2020 she was not a catholic but had requested to have him preform her Farwell prayer service
Thank you to you all
It is a great thing these priests are doing for us, which i know is not always appreciated as it should be. I am reminded of a friend of Italian descent who was critical of the Irish priesthood in Australia, a few generations ago now, because they did not ‘fit in’. Being Irish I could not resist pointing out that were there more Australian priests , these men would not need to respond to the call, and leave hearth and home where they fitted right in, to provide the sacraments half a world away.
As the confirmation sponsor of the son of a Yoruba man many years ago, I particularly welcome our Nigerian priest(s) and hope that any from Samoa are able to encourage congregational singing of the memorable standard I enjoyed so much there.
I have long suspected the predominately Irish origins of the Australian church may well be to blame for lackadaisical singing by many Australian congregations, as any inclination to sing with conviction would have been frowned on by a congregation which was permitted no church building and had deliberately chosen its Carraig an Aifrinn or Mass Rock/altar in an isolated part of the parish to avoid detection/persecution by the authorities. Old traditions die hard they say.