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Priesthood is ‘something big’

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Pauline Fathers
Newly-ordained Fathers Zachary Lewis (second from left) and Jeremy Santoso (second from right) concelebrate at their ordination Mass with Bishop Columba Macbeth-Green and fellow clergy. PHOTO: Supplied

Two Aussie men overwhelmed to have made it to priesthood

Two young Aussies were ordained for the Australian Province of the Order of St Paul the First Hermit in a moving ceremony at the Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy, Penrose Park, on 25 May.

Bishop Columba Macbeth-Green OSPPE of Wilcannia-Forbes – also a member of the Order – ordained Jeremy Santoso and Zachary Lewis, both aged 30, to the priesthood during a Mass attended by hundreds of family, friends and friends of the Order.

Parishioners from St Gertrude’s parish, Smithfield, where Father Jeremy grew up, also attended. Fr Zachary, who spent his early childhood in the NSW’s Forster-Tuncurry region, said that he had always been open to the idea that he was called to the priesthood and was fairly certain of his vocation even as a student attending Hurstville Boys High School.

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His introduction to the Order was through a family friend who invited him to attend one of the monthly Fatima Days at the Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy at Penrose Park.

“I just felt more and more that it was not only the priesthood but a monastic life I was being called to,” he said. “The reason is best explained with our order’s motto; ‘Solus Cum Deo Solo’ which means ‘Alone with God alone’. It’s something so missing in this world, this quietness, silence, listening for the voice of God in our lives.”

After separately deciding to join the order, both joined the novitiate in Poland near Czestochowa, where Jeremy remained for the past eight years. Father Jeremy now joins the monastery at Marian Valley south of Brisbane, while Father Zachary will live at Penrose Park and serve pilgrims to the shrine. The ordination itself was “very surreal” said Father Zachary.

Fathers Zachary Lewis, left and Jeremy Santoso pray over fellow clergy and well-wishers at Penrose Park on 25 May. PHOTO: Supplied

“I was very emotional and was crying for a lot of the liturgy. You’d think that finally becoming a priest is the pinnacle of everything, but it’s just the beginning of a deeper way of giving myself to God.”

Father Zachary said that while it sounded clichéd, he was drawn to the priesthood out of love for Christ and his people.

“I wanted to do that through a life of prayer and penance and I feel privileged to be part of this tradition where, through centuries, our Pauline Fathers have done the same thing. To be a part of that tradition and of the wider Church bringing salvation to people or at least to help them to participate in their salvation is something big.”

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