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Saturday, July 5, 2008

"Path to priesthood a voyage of discovery"

From the Northern Star


THE first priest to be ordained in Lismore since 1993 (15 YEARS without an ordination! That is a pretty significant drought!) made his commitment before a packed congregation at St Carthage's Cathedral on Thursday night.

Nicolas Maurice, 33, said there was no moment of clarity when he knew the priesthood would be his calling; it was a slow process of discovery.

"I was blessed to have a wise old priest in Brisbane who I could see regularly. Father Drury gave me spiritual direction. He would talk about what was happening in my life and how the Lord might be influencing it," he said.

"That was very helpful for me, so I guess it was a process of slowly seeing how things were unfolding."

Nicolas Maurice was born in South Africa and his family immigrated to Brisbane when he was 15.
They would say Grace before meals and go to Mass every Sunday, but were not 'fanatical' Catholics, he said.

Fr Maurice believes he is the first member of his family to enter the priesthood, although his mother had an aunt who was a nun.

He studied engineering at the University of Queensland and then worked for an environmental consultancy before doing a year's voluntary youth work in the West Australian Kimberly region with a Catholic apostolate.

In 2001, he met Lismore Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett and became his student.

Fr Maurice studied for two and half years at the Good Shepherd Seminary at Homebush in Sydney, before Bishop Jarrett asked him to finish his studies in Rome.

He spent four years in Rome and will return in September to complete his studies.

Fr Maurice described the ordination ceremony at St Carthage's as 'very moving'. "It was the culmination of a long period of preparation and something that was bigger than me," he said.

Fr Maurice also conducted his first Mass yesterday morning.

"It was very good as well. I was so excited to be able to offer Mass," he said.

Fr Maurice is now looking forward to World Youth Day celebrations and will be travelling to Sydney with the St Carthage's parish group.

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