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Deacons ready to help others to find the path as priests

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Deacons Richard Sofatzis and Matthew Lukaszewicz will be ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP at St Mary’s Cathedral on 9 September. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
Deacons Richard Sofatzis and Matthew Lukaszewicz will be ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP at St Mary’s Cathedral on 9 September. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

Different paths drew Deacons Richard Sofatzis and Matthew Lukaszewicz deep into their faith but they now share a call to go out to the world as priests.

Their 9 September ordinations by Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP are a late birthday gift for Deacon Richard who turned 33 the previous day.

Sydney-born, the former engineer grew up in Earlwood and Hurstville and began thinking about the priesthood in his last year of school.

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His mother, who sadly passed away in 2017, played a large role in bringing up her seven children in the Catholic faith.

But it took a while before he was ready to take a leap of faith to quit a job he loved and enter the seminary when God called.

“Throughout my studies, I prayed and considered my options, and was drawn to serving God’s people, particularly those who were falling away from their faith,” Deacon Richard said.

“I wanted (and still want) to completely dedicate myself to God and be used in whatever way was needed.”

In the Seminary of the Good Shepherd he has renewed his act of trust in Jesus at every step along the way.

“I was able to realise that when God asks something of us, he asks us to have faith and trust, always leaving room for our free response,” he said.

Deacon Matthew literally had the world beneath his feet before Our Lady of Fatima changed his life and he entered the seminary.

Not only was he well on the way to becoming an airline pilot, he was also on track to joining the professional tennis circuit and had secured tennis scholarship to study at an aeronautical university in Florida.

“But it was before going to America that I got inspired by the message of Fatima and the power of prayer, especially the rosary,” he explained.

“Praying the rosary changed my life.

“After a semester in America and changing my studies to civil and structural engineering at Adelaide University, gradually over time I became much more involved in the faith through daily Mass, spiritual reading, and attending Catholic events to the point that it became my passion.

“I thought, ‘Who needs another way in the world than the one that leads to God?’ I need to help others to find this path.”

Deacon Matthew also believes St John Paul II had a hand praying for the future priest.

“When I was a baby, my parents were at an audience with St John Paul II in Rome and walking by, he blessed me. I believe he has played a special part in discovering and responding to my vocation,” he said.

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