By Jamie O’Brien and Josh Low
Newly ordained priests Fr Joseph Laundy and Fr Mariusz Grzech spoke to The eRecord Editor Jamie O’Brien and journalist Josh Low after their Ordination to the Priesthood on Friday 17 November at St Mary’s Cathedral.
At the beginning of a career in accounting which took him to Sydney, Fr Grzech felt that he was being called to much more than his nine-to-five job.
In late 2008, he moved back to Perth to discern whether he was being called to a religious order or to the diocesan priesthood and joined St Charles’ Seminary in 2010.
In our previous article in the lead up to his Ordination to the Diaconate, Fr Grzech explained that his experience as a seminarian was a time of personal and spiritual growth which helped to shape him in trying to live an authentic relationship with Christ.
He was later sent to Clarkson Parish where he was based for two years – one as a seminarian and one as a Deacon, and has also been on placement at Campus Ministry for 18 months at the University of Notre Dame’s Fremantle Campus.
Ordained to the Diaconate last year on 2 December, Fr Grzech said his time as a Deacon was of great benefit toward his preparation for the ministry of the priesthood.
“I gained much from the experience of visiting the sick, as well as learning and understanding how faith is taught at the schools in our parish.
“Something which also struck me is that people are eager to know more about their Catholic faith,” Fr Grzech said.
“They are faithful and loyal to the Church and want guidance, especially in the midst of the cultural upheaval that we are experiencing.”
Fr Grzech said St Padre Pio has been and continues to be one of his inspirations that he can look up to and strive to imitate.
“St Padre Pio is a role model to look up to, firstly because he loved the Mass and was a good confessor, and also because of his humility and perseverance in the face of adversity, all while trusting in the Lord and His Divine Will.”
He added that in his priestly ministry he hopes to live the universal call to holiness, described by the Church in Lumen gentium as the following in the Lord’s footsteps and conforming himself to His image.
“My hope is that I can also be effective in bringing Christ to the people I encounter.
“How can I do this? By being faithful to the teaching of Christ, by being available to them, and serving the needs of the community with compassion while having the courage to speak the truth,” he said.
Born in Perth and having grown up in Floreat, Fr Joseph Laundy spent his year in the Diaconate at Banksia Grove Parish, where he is still based at present following his priestly ordination.
Fr Laundy said the first inklings of priesthood came at around nine years of age while in his role as altar server at St Cecilia’s, Floreat.
“There was something about seeing the priest each day say the Mass and being attentive to the altar server’s duties which resonated with me.
“I was gifted with a daily Missal at Easter which I treasured for many years and I think that instilled within me the importance of ministry at the altar at an early age,” he said.
Fr Laundy added that throughout his childhood and adolescence, his Catholic parents instilled a love of Christ and His Church.
“We were immersed in Catholicism. It was part of the fabric of the family and growing up with friends who were Catholic was also part of our upbringing; I know it helped in our own faith development.
Fr Laundy said his experience during confession at around 18 years old was a pivotal moment in his life.
“The priest after the confession, offered something I’d never heard about: spiritual direction.
“At first I didn’t have a clue what that meant or what we were going to talk about, but we met up for a session and continued it regularly for many years – I now see God’s providential hand in it because it was a chance to allow a good priest to be God’s instrument in my life,” he said.
“I’d be in a very different place if I didn’t have that guidance.”
Fr Laundy said it eventually became apparent that the only way he would know whether priesthood was what God was calling him to was to enter the seminary.
He added that his time spent in preparation for the priesthood ‘unearthed the treasures and richness of the Catholic tradition.’
“I’ve witnessed the dedication, holiness and selflessness of my fellow brother seminarians and priests.
“Now as a priest myself, I look forward to being a minister of the Sacred Heart of Jesus for the People of God, being involved in people’s lives and offering the Body and Blood of Christ at Mass for the People of God,” Fr Laundy said.
“It is the resolution that God has created me for His purpose which will demand everything from me, but it is through God’s grace that we can accomplish everything.
“When we hold fast to all the tried and tested teachings of the Church it leads us closer to Christ himself.
“The Church has the Truth and when we live authentic lives as witnesses to that Truth, we attract and empower those who are searching for it and that is what I aspire for in the future,” he concluded.