01 Sep 2019

Pathway to priesthood not always clear

The Southern Cross newspaper – September 2019

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Observing that Christians tend to be “happier people”, newly ordained Dominican priest Father William Loh OP admitted it took him many years of soul searching and discernment before he was completely happy and at peace with his decision to become a priest.

Now serving as the chaplain at Blackfriars Priory School, Fr William (pictured) told students last month that when he was having fun as a university student in NSW he often felt conflicted with his involvement in the parish youth group.

03 Aug 2019

Sustained by Jesus

The Southern Cross newspaper – August 2019

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My destiny was to be a Religious Sister! My destiny was to be a Josephite!

My mother prayed to St Gerard Majella, patron of Religious, for one of her children to be a Religious.

Our house was a house of welcome to Josephite Sisters, priests and Brothers. I had two uncles who were Marist Brothers.

03 Aug 2019

The extraordinary life of Sister Maeve

The Southern Cross newspaper – August 2019

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With a life story akin to an Indiana Jones movie script, it has taken every ounce of Sister Maeve O’Brien’s trust in Divine Providence to reach the age of 85 after serving with the Daughters of Charity for 68 years.

Her missionary exploits have taken her to the remotest regions of Ethiopia, a refugee camp in northern Congo, the malaria-infested rainforest of Cameroon and Aboriginal missions in outback Australia. From house arrest by Communist soldiers and expulsion from Ethiopia to contracting cerebral malaria, she insists that it is “Divine Providence with Mary, the angels and the saints” that has protected her throughout.

02 Aug 2019

Seminary life Boston style

The Southern Cross newspaper – August 2019

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‘The best year of my life’ is how James Thomson summed up his first 12 months of study at the Pope St John XXIII National Seminary in Boston.

After much discernment, James, 40, last year decided to quit his job as a credit analyst and head to the USA to study alongside other mature aged seminarians. At the time he knew it was going to be a life-changing event and a year later while back in Adelaide for the holiday break he was happy to share that everything had worked out well.

02 Aug 2019

Drawn to priesthood by Jesuit mission

The Southern Cross newspaper – August 2019


For Father Kieran Gill, his calling to the priesthood was more like a “subtle wave of grace” than a “St Paul on the road to Damascus” moment.

“There was no blinding light or anything dramatic like that,” the newly ordained Jesuit told The Southern Cross shortly after his six month appointment to the Jesuits’ Norwood parish.

“It was more about being inspired and learning how to pray, growing in prayer…I felt the Lord subtly drawing me in that way.”

01 Aug 2019

Joshua open to the journey

The Southern Cross newspaper – August 2019


Spending three months in Lourdes, France, helping young people to engage more with their faith is proving the perfect way for Oblate seminarian Joshua Nash to strengthen his commitment to God and his calling to become a priest.

Joshua, who was born and raised in Adelaide, is currently volunteering in a pilot project for youth evangelisation being run by YOUCAT (Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church).

01 Jul 2019

50 years of listening to the people

The Southern Cross newspaper – July 2019

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It isn’t often that one can celebrate 50 years in the same job, yet this is the reality for Father Paul Cashen MSC who on May 31 marked half a century of priestly life.

Fr Paul’s impressive resume includes roles as parish priest, administrator and Vicar General across three separate Australian dioceses since 1969, and being awarded a PhD in 2004.

Despite his achievements, the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) priest wanted a ‘no-fuss’ celebration with the Henley Beach and Hindmarsh MSC parishes and wider Adelaide communities. It’s this humility and his focus on others which parishioners and colleagues attribute to his popularity.

12 May 2019

Rev Dr Rice proves you're never too old to learn

The Southern Cross newspaper – May 2019

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At an age when most are happy to sit back, relax and enjoy their retirement, Monsignor Robert Rice decided to venture down a much different path and embark on all-consuming studies to gain his PhD.

Twelve years later, at the ripe old age of 87, the Archdiocesan priest can now proudly call himself ‘Rev Dr Rice’ after graduating with a doctorate in philosophy from Flinders University on April 23.

His research thesis is of great importance to the history of the Catholic Church in Australia as it covers the life of Archbishop James Gleeson and the contribution he made to the implementation of changes which took place in the wake of Vatican II.

11 May 2019

One step closer to priesthood

The Southern Cross newspaper – May 2019

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Pasquale (Pat) Lopresti has moved a step forward on his journey to the priesthood following his ordination to the diaconate in St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral last month.

With family, friends, clergy and fellow seminarians present, Pat was ordained deacon by Bishop Greg O’Kelly SJ, on April 27.

The former Adelaide lawyer was in his fifties when he finally decided to pursue a religious vocation and since 2016 has been studying at the Pope St John XXIII National Seminary in Massachusetts, USA.

10 May 2019

Maltese connection to Adelaide runs deep

The Southern Cross newspaper – May 2019

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Father Gabriel Micallef OFM came to Adelaide from Malta in 1996 for three months to assist with the closure of the Maltese Franciscan mission.

Twenty three years later he is still here, serving as chaplain to the ageing Maltese community which showed its gratitude and deep affection for the priest when he celebrated his 75th birthday and 50th anniversary as a priest in March.

15 Apr 2019

Seminarians on journey to priesthood

Anthony Beltrame, Blake Crossley, Joshua McDermid, EJ Ibarra and Olek Stirrat


A teacher, pharmacist and architect are the Archdiocese’s newest seminarians to be called to the vocation of the priesthood.

Blake Crossley, Joshua McDermid and Edward (EJ) Ibarra started their journey at Corpus Christi College in Melbourne earlier this year, joining fifth year students from the Archdiocese, Olek Stirrat and Anthony Beltrame.

15 Apr 2019

Pipe organ music to Ugandan priest's ears

Fr Denis Ssemuju

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With only two pipe organs to be played in his home country of 45 million people, Ugandan priest Fr Denis Ssemuju was thrilled to try his hand on the beautiful Canadian Casavant Freres in St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral recently.
Self-taught on the keyboard, Fr Denis also plays the piano to improve his speed, and described the Cathedral’s pipe organ as a real “treasure”.

01 Nov 2018

Faith nurtured in Adelaide blossoms in Nashville

Sr Elena Marie Piteo OP


When Sr Elena Marie Piteo OP attended World Youth Day in Sydney in 2008 it was the first time she had seen a young Sister in a habit and she was “struck by her joy”.

Returning to Adelaide where she was studying psychology, the former Mary MacKillop student thought little about a religious vocation until she attended an Encountering Christ retreat with the Dominican Sisters of St Cecilia in 2011.

Although the order is based in Nashville, Tennessee, the community has had a presence in Sydney since it was invited to help with the preparations for WYD 2008. Subsequently the invitation was extended for the Sisters to become involved in teaching and university chaplaincy in the Sydney Archdiocese and they recently established a house in Melbourne.

01 Oct 2018

Darwin’s retiring bishop reflects on life of great joy

Bishop Eugene Hurley

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God’s call to the priesthood for Bishop Eugene Hurley was gentle, but insistent.

As he counts down his final days as head of the Darwin Diocese, the 78-year-old described that first call to the priesthood as a nagging, vague idea that he might want to be a priest – a feeling that he entertained for many years.

It was only when he left school and found his work in Adelaide’s public service lacked fulfilment that Bishop Hurley decided to ascertain whether priesthood might be a possibility.

01 Oct 2018

Guided by God of surprises

Monsignor Ian Dempsey

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The ‘God of surprises’ has guided Monsignor Ian Dempsey from the time he joined St Francis Xavier Seminary as a 17 year old in 1961 to his retirement as parish priest of Brighton last month.

Mgr Dempsey said his life had been one of “giftedness and challenges”.

“God looks after us in ways mostly unknown to us. The God of surprises.”

01 Oct 2018

Thankful for the grace of God

Fr Anthony Kain

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Father Anthony Kain celebrated the golden anniversary of his ordination with the parish communities of Glenelg and Plympton last month. Here he reflects on his 50 years in the priesthood.

My journey to the priesthood began with a faith-filled family of parents Nell and Bill and siblings Michael, Mary and Peter. Educated at Christian Brothers College and involved in the YCW at St Peter’s, I was inspired by Fr Jim Kelly, our parish priest, and the Holy Name parish, all of which led to my entering the seminary as the Second Vatican Council began in 1962. 

01 Oct 2018

Long service to country parishes

Fr Jack Boog

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Ordained in his home town parish of Tailem Bend, Fr Jack Boog has served many country parishes as well as the Marriage Encounter movement in his 50 years of priesthood.

Members of the Modbury-Para Hills parish gathered on September 9 to celebrate Fr Jack’s golden jubilee and his various ministries for the Church.

Born in Rotterdam during World War II, Fr Jack moved to Australia with his parents, three sisters and brother in 1955. He attended the Dominican School in High St, Glenelg for six months before the family moved to Tailem Bend where his parents lived until retirement.

02 Aug 2018

Boy from Malta heads north for next adventure

Bishop Elect Fr Charles Gauci

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When Maltese priest Father George Preca was canonised in 2007, Pope Benedict said the expression from St John’s Gospel Verbum caro factum est (the Word became flesh) guided his soul and his every action.

In choosing this same phrase for his episcopal motto, Bishop Elect Fr Charles Gauci is demonstrating his strong connection to the man who founded the Society of Christian Doctrine and whose legacy is the worldwide Preca youth movement.

Not only was Fr Gauci an active participant of the Preca Community as a young boy growing up in Malta, he also lived in the same street as Fr Preca and knew him well. Much later, Fr Gauci was one of 10 priests and bishops asked to concelebrate his canonisation Mass in Rome, and he has been actively involved and chaplain to the Preca Community in Australia for many years.

01 Aug 2018

Seed of faith grows into priesthood

Fr Hau Le

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Growing up I enjoyed doing whatever kids enjoyed doing: sport, games, pranks, reading, movies and listening to music.

But underneath it all, there was a constant presence of God as prayer and Mass was practised regularly in our family, and I thank God for this as the faith had to start somewhere.

I became an altar boy in primary school and very soon, gone were the days of daydreaming in the pews as I served at the altar.

01 Aug 2018

Combining faith and football

Fr Adam Crouch

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Father Adam Crouch says he is one of the luckiest people around, being able to live out his two passions – faith and football.

An assistant priest at the vibrant Penshurst parish he is also an assistant coach at the QBE Sydney Swans Academy.

A handy midfielder in his day for his native Port Adelaide Football Club, Fr Adam said having a connection through footy gives him a real advantage when dealing with not only young skills but young souls.

01 Aug 2018

US nun brings her Earth mission to Adelaide

Sr Gail Worcelo

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Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Gail Worcelo spent many hours with her Polish grandmother tending the Morning Glory plant growing on the fire escape of their second floor apartment.

It was a rare opportunity for her to connect with earth in the “concrete jungle” of Brooklyn and it had a profound effect on the aspiring young ballet dancer.

Now living at Green Mountain Monastery in Vermont, where she co-founded what is believed to be the world’s first religious community dedicated to healing and protecting Earth and its life systems, Sister Gail recalled her childhood in Brooklyn in an interview with The Southern Cross last month.

01 Jul 2018

Sr Nien revisits the source of her religious vocation

Sr Nien Tran rsm

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Despite becoming a Sister of Mercy in 1991, Sr Nien Tran remains closely connected to the Congregation of the Lovers of the Holy Cross which she joined as a 19-year-old woman in Saigon, Vietnam.

After spending six years studying in France, Sr Nien returned to Vietnam in 1974 to take up a teaching ministry in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City), only to find it on the brink of capitulation to the Communists from the North.

Nine months after she returned, on the historical day that Saigon fell (April 30 1975), she and nine Sisters in her congregation were forced to jump on a boat making its way to the Philippines. With nothing but some rice and a family photo album in her possession, she spent two months at sea before arriving in Guam where the US Government had established a transit camp.

01 Jun 2018

Memorable anniversary Mass for Fr McGearty

Fr Sean McGearty

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When Father Sean McGearty arrived in Adelaide in 1958, less than six months after being ordained a priest in Ireland, he was greeted at Outer Harbour by the then Administrator of St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral, Father Leonard Faulkner, on behalf of Archbishop Matthew Beovich.

Six decades later, Fr McGearty sent out invitations to his diamond anniversary Mass and one of the first people to accept was Emeritus Archbishop Leonard Faulkner.

01 May 2018

Sr Anna's mission brings Italian community together

Sr Anna Genovese SJBP

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When Sr Anna Genovese SJBP arrived at the Pastorelle Sisters’ home in Payneham in 2000 it didn’t take long for her to survey the local area and form a plan for the task that lay ahead of her.

As pastoral associate in the parish she knew she needed to make contact with the locals and so quickly found a map showing all the streets in the area and set about using her Italian heritage – and unwavering faith – to make a connection with the faithful.

06 Aug 2017

Discover the perennial attraction of Jesus

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As we celebrate National Vocations Awareness Week from August 6-13, Adelaide Archdiocese’s director of Vocations Fr Dean Marin outlines Pope Francis’ message of hope and encouragement.

In his World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Francis has once again written inspiring and encouraging words. He speaks of every Christian as a “Christopher, a bearer of Christ, to his brothers and sisters”.

05 Aug 2017

Everyone's job to promote vocations

Fr Josy Sebastian MSFS

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Visiting parishes, youth groups and schools is all part of a day’s work for Fr Josy Sebastian MSFS who is the most recent addition to the Archdiocese’s Vocations team.

04 Aug 2017

Family and marriage focus for long-serving priest

Mgr John Swann

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An unmarried priest counselling couples preparing to wed about their relationship and demands of family life might seem a contradiction, but for Monsignor John Swann it has been a hallmark of his 60 years in the priesthood.

Healing ministry for Michelle

Sr Michelle Goh RSM

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Combining a medical career with a religious vocation might sound daunting but Michelle Goh says both are helping her to “be the best person that God has made me to be”.

Boyhood wish comes true for Fr John O'Doherty OMI

Fr John O’Doherty OMI

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From an early age, Brisbane-born John O’Doherty OMI was attracted to the life of a missionary but it wasn’t until he was in his mid-20s and embarking on a career in the insurance industry in country New South Wales that he decided to do something about it.

Mary chooses the riches of religious life

Sr Mary Ryan RSJ

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At 21 years of age, Mary Ryan appeared to have the world at her feet. She had a great job with good future prospects and was well paid – bringing home more than twice that of her father. But despite her “success”, something was missing in her life.

Stepping up to the challenge

Fr Jeevan Gabriel SMM

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Chances are that if you meet Fr Jeevan Gabriel SMM he will be wearing comfortable shoes. Old habits die hard for the Indian priest who for four years walked thousands of kilometres through the mountains of his homeland serving the people of the Shanthi Nagar Tribal Mission.

Indian priest finds inspiration in Adelaide

Fr Santiago Fernandes SFX

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Father Santiago Fernandes SFX is pleased that besides a trip to the Holy Land, his first journey outside his home of India has taken him to a place where his “inspiration” – St Francis Xavier – has a strong presence.

At home in the parish

Fr Leon Czechowicz

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Not many children know what they want to be at age 16, but for Leon Czechowicz his strong Catholic upbringing was the catalyst for him joining St Francis Xavier Seminary in 1960.

Final vows for Sr Tram

Sr Tram Nguyen OP

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Sr Tram Nguyen admitted to feeling both “excited and nervous” when she made her final profession as a Dominican Sister in the North Adelaide Congregation on March 18.

Vocation to priesthood a personal experience

Archbishop Philip Wilson