By Emilie Ng
SIX young men have exchanged thriving careers for the holy call to be priests for Queensland.
Midwife nurse Johnpaul Ezeakunne, youth ministry workers William Aupito Iuliano and Francis Fernandes, bus driver Damien Everitt, accountant Tyron Stewart and Yeppoon-based teacher Ashwin Acharya entered Queensland’s Holy Spirit Provincial Seminary on Sunday, February 8.
Brisbane man Brendan Gormley has also been sent to Rome to study at Beda College, which offers priestly study for mature-aged men.
Seminary rector Monsignor Tony Randazzo called the six “amazingly generous and talented young men” God-given “gifts” to the Church.
“We have a remarkably diverse group, from a school teacher, youth ministry workers, a midwife nurse and a bus driver,” Msgr Randazzo said.
“As I looked at them (during the commencement Mass) just seeing the most amazing diverse people in the Church reminded me that they are gifts that God gives.”
Msgr Randazzo said this year’s intake was the second largest group he had welcomed in his seven years as rector.
“It is a good strong year,” he said.
Brisbane’s discernment house, Canali House, now in its 12th year, and Vocation Brisbane event Consilium contributed to new seminarians’ vocation call, Msgr Randazzo said.
Queensland’s Holy Spirit Provincial Seminary now has 20 men preparing for the priesthood, a small drop in numbers due to the ordination of three deacons and eight priests last year.
“If that’s the reason why the numbers have slightly dropped, that’s a good reason,” Msgr Randazzo said.
He said the Church should still pray for more vocations to the priesthood and religious life especially with 2015 dedicated to the Year of Consecrated Life.
“We need to continue encouraging many families and young people to pray for vocations to religious life,” Msgr Randazzo said.
“We’ve all got a vocation, but especially in the Year of Consecrated Life, I challenge young people to consider that God might be calling them to consecrated life as a priest or religious sister.”