(From left) Roland Agrisola, Shelwin Fernandez and James Foster will be ordained priests tomorrow night. Rev Fernandez plans to continue playing soccer.
(From left) Roland Agrisola, Shelwin Fernandez and James Foster will be ordained priests tomorrow night. Rev Fernandez plans to continue playing soccer. Jacklyn Wagner

Young men take a leap of faith

THREE young men will dedicate their lives to the Catholic faith during an ordination ceremony at St Carthage's Cathedral tomorrow night.

Roland Agrisola, 27, Shelwin Fernandez, 25, and James Foster, 29, will each be ordained priests and gain the right to celebrate mass within the Catholic community.

It will be the first time since 1967 three men have been ordained on the same day in the Lismore Diocese.

Reverend Foster said he had a calling to become a priest when he was seven years old.

"I said to the teacher and the students, when I grow up I want to be a priest," he said.

"So I don't feel nervous. I just feel a sense of deep joy and deep peace because this is the moment we have been preparing for for many years."

Rev Foster completed his pastoral placing as a deacon in the parishes of Iluka, Yamba and Maclean, while Rev Fernandez served in Kempsey and Rev Agrisola was placed in Casino.

Rev Agrisola said his deaconship gave him the opportunity to visit the sick and learn how to conduct funerals, baptisms and marriages.

"I learned a lot from that experience and now when I go back I am glad people say you have made an impression and we are happy to come to your ordination.

"I thank God that at least during my stay there I have touched aspects of their lives."

The men will be expected to live simply but their personalities will not change completely.

Rev Agrisola displayed a talent for soccer during an annual match at his seminary in Wagga Wagga and he still intends to follow the game.

He said it's important for priests to take an active role in the community and to be approachable to parishioners.

"It's not about giving up everything ... because as spiritual leaders we have to go to where people are and lead them to God from there," he said.

The ordination will be conducted by the Bishop of Lismore, Reverend Geoffrey Jarrett, at 7pm.



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