Michael Gallacher's Vocation Story
Michael Gallacher is in his third year at the seminary for the Archdiocese of Melbourne, Corpus Christi College in Carlton. We asked him what led him there and what life is like in the seminary…
I took many steps over a five-year period before entering the seminary. The first thought about a vocation to the priesthood came when I was in Year 11 at Whitefriars College in Donvale. One day at school, one of the Carmelite Brothers joked with me and a friend about recruiting us to the priesthood. When he said it there was a little flutter of excitement in my heart, which I tried to ignore. At that stage, I was not going to Mass on Sundays. I believed in God, but only as a far-off person who I didn't think about much. Besides which, I had my life very well planned. I had a clear idea of the career I want to pursue and still had many goals to achieve in sport. So, I ignored the stir of excitement at the Carmelites’ joke and I carried on.
Over the next few years, I couldn’t stop thinking about the priesthood. Any time I was with priests, or if someone even mentioned the word ‘priest’, I would feel excited deep down inside. I kept trying to push it away, but it didn't work. So one day I just decided that I'd be open to a vocation to the priesthood and once I stopped fighting the call, I felt a real sense of peace. I decided that if God was really calling me to the priesthood then that’s what would make me happiest, so I might as well give the seminary a go.
Our programme in the seminary is quite varied. We study philosophy, theology, history and Scripture at Catholic Theological College. We also have in-house sessions run by the resident priests, developing areas of knowledge with a view to priesthood. The spiritual life of the seminary community includes praying the Divine Office, daily Mass, Exposition, the Rosary and retreats. Half a day a week is spent doing pastoral work, which includes time in schools, hospitals, nursing homes, universities, correction centres, parishes and various other ministries. We also have singing practice, drama and sport each week.
Despite a full programme, we still make time to have a bit of fun. It's handy living only a minute's walk from Lygon St coffee. Living in close contact with so many others on a daily basis can be very challenging – but worth it! It is fantastic to live with men who share my enthusiasm and excitement about the Catholic Faith and the priesthood.
One concern prior to entering the seminary was that I would no longer have much contact with my family or friends. However, I’ve found that is not the case. With one day off a week, I am able to see my family and friends on a regular basis. I’ve also been able to stay involved in my local footy club during the winter months and athletics club during the summer. I still even manage to see the Mighty Blues play a few times each year!
My big hope is that I can be formed while I am in the seminary so that I can come out to be a holy priest one day. I hope that I am doing the will of God, and I really look forward to being able to administer the sacraments to people; to be able to preach and just to be able to share my life with Christ with other people, and to be able to bring people into that, by making God present to them in the Sacraments.
The seminary certainly has its challenges, but every life does. And it’s an exciting time to be in the Church. Numbers of priests worldwide have been steadily increasing over the last five years. Numbers in Australia are becoming stronger. But we still need more.
If I could advise a young bloke who is wondering about the priesthood I would say this: talk to good, holy priests; pray lots (Mass, Adoration, Rosary, Confession, Vocations Retreats); read about priest-saints. And be courageous. If God really is calling you to be a priest, it'll be an exciting, fulfilling and happy life.
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