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Fr Galbert: ‘I fell more in love with Christ’ in the seminary

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The Catholic Foundation Diocese of Parramatta supports works of Faith, Hope and Charity across Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains. Our current appeal seeks to build support for the Holy Spirit Seminary. If you would like to help, please click here to make a donation today.

 

By Fr Galbert Albino, assistant priest, St Aidan’s Parish, Rooty Hill

When I was quite young, I felt I had the desire to serve God and become a priest.

I started in the seminary back in the Philippines for five years and then the former rector officer of the Holy Spirit Seminary came to the Philippines. He made contact with us and invited us to be a priest here [in Australia] and serve in his diocese.

It took me more than a year before I made the decision because I don’t want to leave my family behind.

But I felt to serve the people was not exclusive to where you are. If you are willing to serve and to serve others, you can actually serve the people not just in your area, but you can go everywhere that God leads you.

I believe it was me responding to the call of God and this is what He wants me to do.

We are being nurtured here [in the seminary] quite well, especially with the psychology of our rector Father John Hogan.

He actively helped us not just to understand what other people are going through in life, but it also helps us in how to understand ourselves and understand other people’s trials and struggles well.

The transformative psychology of Father John is helping us not just for ourselves but both ways, both the person we are trying to give advice but helping us understand other people who have some trials and difficulties in life, especially in regard to their spiritual need.

This is the place where I was nurtured. Where my vocation grew more and more every day.

I said to Father John before I was ordained, this is the place where I fell more in love to Jesus Christ and God.

This is where I was being moulded well.

People here are comfortable to be with. We have a good camaraderie with each other. We have friendships here in this seminary, so we are nurtured quite well.

This has actually become part of my family. If we have our own family in our own house, this is also part of our family.

I remember when I first came here. It was the first month of the year when Father John started. We had a first meeting and Father John [was] talking about looking after also the seminary. One thing that struck with me when he said ‘this is our home, we also have to look after it.’ That means to say, we have to also look after each other.

That’s one thing that stays with me, and that’s why I keep coming back.

We have been provided with education and not just our spiritual needs, but from the seminary, we are prepared to be sent to the parish.

Fr Galbert Albino (right) during his ordination to the priesthood. Image: Alphonsus Fok/Diocese of Parramatta

Now that I’ve become a priest, people are coming to me not just for advice but for sacraments like confession and I enjoy doing it. In that sense, I am able to nourish their faith and relationship when it comes to God. I’m quite happy with the ministry I’m doing.

It didn’t feel that so much has changed, what they see in me, but people would somehow think that since you’re ordained, you are already a holy person. That’s what people would normally think that somehow you know a lot about spiritual things.

I told them, if they are directly seeking some help in terms of nourishing their spiritual needs, I normally try to remind them that holiness is not exclusive to us. It is a call for each and every one of us, as Pope Francis would put it. So that’s the thing that I keep on reminding them.

The scripture says we are created in the image and likeness of God, and we have to be reminded of this always – that we have this divinity within us that we also have to nourish. I think that people also forget that sense of sacredness.

That’s why we priests keep reminding them that they have also to look after the gift of God that has been given to them. The sense of holiness, of sacredness within us.

You’re not just there to help them seek it, but you are also there to help them seek it themselves.

I love doing my ministry here because this is where I was nurtured, where I grew more of my faith and my vocation. I really feel at home here.

 

Please give generously to the Bishop’s Good Shepherd Appeal to support our seminarians on their journey to the priesthood, so they can prepare for a life of service to our community.

To donate to the Parramatta Catholic Foundation Bishop’s Good Sheperd Appeal, visit yourcatholicfoundation.org.au/appeal.