Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit

Reading Time: 9 minutes

They all experienced the same call, yet each found their way to priesthood by very different paths and experiences.

On the eve of their ordination we put the following four questions to each of the seven deacons who will become priests on Saturday 3 August.

Miguel Campos, 33

1. Tell us about yourself

I come from Jalisco in northwest Mexico. I come from a large family of six brothers and two sisters. I came to Australia in 2010 for seminary formation in the Neocatechumenal Way.

When I finished school I applied to study politics, I wanted to be a politician and do good for people in that way, and I wanted to be married and have children. But I was not accepted into that course and so began a philosophy degree at a Catholic university run by the Jesuits.

2. What do you do in your free time?

I like to read theology, scripture, play chess and soccer, I enjoy watching rugby and go for runs. I also play the guitar.

3. How did you become aware of your call to the priesthood?

At university I did the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius, I was going to Mass every Sunday and began to try and discover if God was leading me to something through my consolations and desolations.

There I met seminarians in formation to become Jesuits, and I discovered they were normal people, happy people

I started to question whether my vocation was to marriage as I thought or whether I could be open maybe God had another possibility for me. While in this process of discernment there was a group of the Neocatechumenal Way in my parish doing some talks and I went to their retreat. During that retreat they called for vocations, if someone felt called to the priesthood or religious life.

I felt strongly called, my heart was pumping very fast – and I stood up! After that I did a year of discernment back home, and then I went to Porto San Giorgio in Rome and from there I was assigned to go to Australia. This is the work of the Lord because I never expected this

4. What are your hopes for your priestly ministry?

I want to be available to the people, to bring Christ to the people, to be at the service of the people. I think I have a good tool with the catechesis of the Neocatechumenal Way to help people grow in the faith.


 

Moises Carrasco. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
Moises Carrasco. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

Moises Carrasco, 31

1. Tell us about yourself

I grew up in a poor area of Santo Domingo, the capital city of the Dominican Republic, in a house given to my family by the government.

The social situation of my country was not great and we often suffered the lack of basic needs but my parents always managed to put food on the table and God was always present in one way or another.

I was raised as a Seventh Day Adventist but when I was about 15 my grandmother took my sister and I with her to follow the Neocatechumenal Way and in this way we just fell in love with the Catholic Church.

2. What do you do in your free time?

I can say that I’m a normal young man with some interests like baseball and who, in my spare time, likes to go fishing very much – although I’m not quite sure how they both relate to each other!

3. How did you become aware of your call to the priesthood?

During a retreat with my Neocatechumenal Community I felt that God was calling me to the priesthood. Then a short time later I was invited to commence formation at the Redemptoris Mater Seminary of Santo Domingo.

I entered in August 2009. For my father, my decision left him a bit shocked and initially he put up some resistance because he couldn’t understand. Eventually, he became very happy to see me as a seminarian and, after a few months, my parents got married in the Catholic Church.

4. What are your hopes for your priestly ministry?

My primary hope is to be able to pass on to others the same Good News that was once announced to me, meaning that there exists a God who loves me greatly and who through his Son Jesus Christ, has forgiven my sins. I hope to enable others to experience the joy of knowing God’s unconditional love for us and that this love is accessible to anyone.


 

John Jang. Photo: Alphonsus Fok
John Jang. Photo: Alphonsus Fok

John Jang, 33

1. Tell us about yourself

I was born in Korea and came to Sydney with my family when I was seven. I have an older brother and younger sister.

I didn’t become Catholic until I was in Year 5 – Dad became Catholic and the whole family converted with him and from then on we went to the Korean Catholic Church at Silverwater.

I studied medicine at the University of NSW and worked as an intern at Mt Druitt, Blacktown and Westmead hospitals.

2. What do you do in your free time?

Just hanging out with mates. I used to play a lot of soccer.

3. How did you become aware of your call to the priesthood?

After I went to World Youth Day in Madrid in 2011 I decided to take a break from medicine to study philosophy and volunteer as a catechist.
I went to the IWitness conference and after confession with my godfather Fr Peter Kwak, I prayed in the holy hour and the thought of priesthood came to me for the first time.

It came out of nowhere.

Within a month, I had applied for the seminary. I entered in 2013.

4. What are your hopes for your priestly ministry?

I hope that I will be a priest who is faithful, prayerful and approachable. Someone who works hard for the kingdom of God. I just hope to learn from the priests accompanying me and the parishioners and people I will be asked to serve and to really make the most of the gift of faith God has given to me.


 

William Loh OP.
William Loh OP.

William Loh OP, 32

1. Tell us about yourself

I was born in Westmead, grew up in Quakers Hill, and went to St Andrew’s Primary School in Marayong, and Parramatta Marist High School.

I did tertiary study at UNSW Kensington. I come from a family of four with one older sister and my parents migrated here from Malaysia.

2. What do you do in your free time?

My current hobbies are photography and survival preparedness, also fitness and mental health.

3. How did you become aware of your call to the priesthood?

I first became aware of my calling during my university studies in mechanical engineering.
I began to genuinely ask and seek for the first time about matters relating fundamentally to our existence.

“Why am I here? What is the purpose to this? Why anything at all?”

It was only during this state of reflection and contemplation wherein God revealed to me my purpose and vocation. It required a lot of effort and silent prayer, listening and responding to God’s call.

4. What are your hopes for your priestly ministry?

My hope is that as a priest I will be fruitful in guiding others towards true encounter with our living and loving God and assist in sustaining their divine relationship with him and with his body the Church, particularly through sacramental ministry.


 

Joseph Murphy. Photo: Alphonsus Fok
Joseph Murphy. Photo: Alphonsus Fok

Joseph Murphy, 27

1. Tell us about yourself

I was born in Brisbane and our family moved to Dural when I was 13. I attended Our Lady of the Angels at Rouse Hill and Redfield College before doing an arts degree.

2. What do you do in your free time?

I love travelling. My brother Nick and I have been everywhere from Cuba to skiing trips in Canada, France and Madrid.

3. How did you become aware of your call to the priesthood?

I always had an attraction to the priesthood ever since I can really remember. When I was very young my mum used to put on cassettes for my brother and I at bedtime with stories, especially about the Catholic faith.

Some were about priests who did incredibly heroic things to ensure people had the sacraments.

I kept it in the back of my mind throughout my childhood and through high school. And while I was attracted to other occupations and vocations, the more I prayed and thought about it I didn’t think anything would fulfil me like the priesthood, or allow me to give a gift to the Church like the priesthood would, which is what I wanted to do with my life.

In 2011 I had a very strong sense that this was probably what God wanted of me so I thought I’d give it a crack and entered the seminary in 2012.

4. What are your hopes for your priestly ministry?

I just hope to be a good priest and through my ministering of the sacraments will draw people closer to Christ – that He might increase and I decrease.


 

Ronnie Maree. Photo: Alphonsus Fok
Ronnie Maree. Photo: Alphonsus Fok

Ronnie Maree, 27

1. Tell us about yourself

I grew up in Campsie, where my family had lived for a very long time. We later moved to Strathfield South where they still live. I have two sisters and a brother as well as two nephews.

2. What do you do in your free time?

Most of my free time is simply spent catching up with family and close friends, sharing meals with them and spending plenty of time watching sports. If I am not doing this I am usually locked away somewhere reading.

3. How did you become aware of your call to the priesthood?

I first became aware of God’s call for my life through the continuing presence of a desire to live the life of a priest.

This emerged at a very young age and has followed me my entire life.

It was nourished by the faith of my family and particularly by the example of how my priest-uncle joyfully and generously lived out his vocation.

4. What are your hopes for your priestly ministry?

I hope Christ will be able to use my efforts and work to help people find the richness and fullness of life that He offers us through His Church and that I will be able to do my part so that the people of my generation may have Christ and the Catholic faith presented to them in an intelligent and beautiful way.


 

William Chow. Photo: Alphonsus Fok
William Chow. Photo: Alphonsus Fok

William Chow, 34

1. Tell us about yourself

I’m one of three children in my family. I grew up in Canada and studied history and political science at university before moving to Hong Kong where I worked for a while and then entered the seminary. I came to Australia in 2014.

2. What do you do in your free time?

I like to relax, go to the gym or for a walk or a run. I used to work in retail for a clothing store so I sometimes will go online to look at fashion magazines.

3. How did you become aware of your call to the priesthood?

I began thinking of priesthood from a young age, I was an altar boy growing up and one Sunday when I was 15 or 16 I had the thurible and I was incensing and the sunlight suddenly burst through when the priest lifted up the host.

I felt at that moment something very special was happening, although I didn’t understand then what transubstantiation was.

I thought it was a very beautiful life to bring people closer to God in this way, and maybe I could do this one day. Later I thought I might work in government or be high school teacher. At 24 I made the decision to break up with my girlfriend and enter the seminary.

4. What are your hopes for your priestly ministry?

Just to be a priest among the people, a Good Shepherd, wherever it is God’s will to send me.

I’m very grateful to all the people who have supported me this far and I ask all the people of Sydney to pray for me

If you feel you are – or might be – called to priesthood … don’t write it off! Talk to the Sydney Archdiocesan Vocations Office where experienced priests and staff will help you work out what to do to find the answer to the question of your life.

Contact the Centre on (02) 9307 8433, via www.vocationcentre.org.au or Facebook.

Related articles: