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Perpetual adoration unlocks the grace and opens the ears of young men to hear the call

New seminarians: Gathered for the Holy Spirit Provincial Seminary 2019 Commencement Mass are first-year seminarians (from left) Anthony Gawlu, Peter Doherty, Dominic Jayasuriya, Michael Greathead, BJ Perrett and Jesse Smith. Photo: Alan Edgecomb

PERPETUAL Adoration in Banyo Nundah parish was credited for the parish’s “highest tally” of current and incoming seminarians. 

Banyo Nundah parish priest Fr Bernie Gallagher was given the accolade at the conclusion of last Sunday’s Commencement Mass for Holy Spirit Provincial Seminary at Banyo, in Brisbane. 

Fr Gallagher said seminary rector Monsignor John Grace could count all seminarians, not only the two continuing and two beginning, as having “passed through Banyo Nundah”. 

“They all come through our parish, on the way to the seminary,” he said.

The two new seminarians from Banyo Nundah parish are 20-year-olds Michael Greathead and Jesse Smith, both destined for ministry in Brisbane archdiocese. 

As first-year seminarians, they were joined at the Mass by BJ Perrett, 19, and Dominic Jayasuriya, 32, both from Toowoomba diocese, and Peter Doherty, 42, and Anthony Gawlu, 31, from Rockhampton and Lismore dioceses respectively. 

The six new seminarians take the collective total to 23, of which David Nightingale and Sean Woods are those continuing from Banyo Nundah. 

Also taking up a new appointment is Fr Kevin Smith who begins the year as the seminary’s new vice-rector.

He recalled entering seminary life four decades ago, joined by his family for the initial Mass of welcome and commencement. 

“(I felt) a mixture of excitement and anxiety,” Fr Smith said to those gathered on February 10. 

“It’s 33 years since I was ordained a priest for the archdiocese and, yet, this will be my first year in the seminary in this capacity because the Lord still calls.” 

Fr Smith described God’s call “much like our being in love”. 

“There must be love if we are responding to any call that Jesus Christ initiates,” he said. 

“It arises from a spark, a weak and tentative flame that turns into an all-consuming fire. 

“It’s fanned by our contacts and relationships with other people and God, and then one day, as if from nowhere, we are jolted with the realisation that we are in love and we are called to move forward.

“God continues to call … that’s why we are all here.” 

Fr Smith said God “did not call bounty hunters”. 

“God calls us to be fishermen and fisherwomen in a boat, working together,” he said. 

“With the community of the Church, God has called you. 

“With the community of the Church we will discern here, in this place, and open our hearts further to that call.

“Let us continue to listen and open our eyes and hearts, and respond as generously as God calls.” 

While some first-year seminarians’ families were unable to attend, the immediate family of Banyo’s Michael Greathead all gathered, as did the family of BJ Perrett, from Stanthorpe parish, in Toowoomba diocese. 

Jack Greathead said he was “thankful, blessed and peaceful” at his son’s decision to begin formal formation following the 20-year-old’s time spent in Brisbane archdiocese’s discernment house of Canali.  

Angela Greathead likened her son’s enthusiasm for the first official day at the seminary to his education, saying, “Mick was up early and ready to go … it reminded me of the first day of school.”

Linda and Clint Perrett shared their son’s preparedness and gave credit to Stanthorpe parish priest Fr Brian Connolly. 

“Many of our family and friends have prayed for our children and in particular BJ as he discerned his vocation,” Mrs Perrett said. 

“Fr Connolly has offered his constant support and pastoral guidance … (and) we are so grateful.” 

Mr Perrett spoke of his family’s hope in the future, saying, “BJ is a blessing to us and we know he will flourish in such a supportive community”. 

Many other seminarians were present at the Mass, as well as ordained and lay members of seminary staff.

Fr Gallagher said it was a parishioner who “said immediately” when asked why vocations were so fruitful in Banyo Nundah “(that) it was due to perpetual adoration”, first begun in the parish in August 2011. 

“All of the seminarians from the parish have given time to Eucharistic Adoration,” he said.

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