Fr Danny Nouh—the first married man ordained for the Maronite Church in Australia—says his ordination on 17 March was “surreal” and brought many people back to the Church.
“I can’t explain, it was surreal. Just unbelievable. It was more than joy, that’s all I can say,” Fr Nouh told The Catholic Weekly.
“Many people were so overjoyed that it inspired them. Many people said to me, ‘We haven’t been to church for a while and this joyful occasion has reignited our faith and now we want to come back to Mass, come back to the Church and be a part of it’.’”
Around 1200 attended Fr Nouh’s ordination Mass at Our Lady of Lebanon Co-Cathedral in Harris Park, celebrated by Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay. Fr Nouh is the first diocesan priest Bishop Tarabay has ordained.
Fr Tony Sarkis—Fr Nouh’s Sponsor and spiritual director—and Monsignor Marcelino Youssef concelebrated the Mass and another 25 clergy were in attendance.
“If I think back ten years to the time that my journey to the priesthood started, no one would have ever thought that an Australian-born, Maronite, husband and father of three would be ordained a priest on the altar of the Lord in the Maronite Church in Sydney, Australia,” Fr Nouh said in his speech following the Mass.
For Fr Nouh’s wife, Nabiha, and their children, Michael, Rita and Christian, the ceremony was the culmination of a ten-year journey, from the time he first told them he wanted to become a priest.
“You can see from the photos the smiles on their faces,” Fr Nouh said. “I think it was a very happy and proud moment for them. It’s been a long journey, ten years. It was like, ‘we’re finally here’. My son posted on Facebook, ‘We’ve waited ten years for this’. It was a beautiful feeling.”
Fr Nouh celebrated his first Mass the day after his ordination and said it was also an amazing experience.
“Again, it was surreal. Something I can’t explain. It was as if no one was in the church except myself and Our Lord. It was so elevating it was unbelievable.”