While they still play a lot of Xbox and fight over who cleans the bathrooms, the 18 men at the Holy Spirit Seminary are living together for a higher purpose, reports The Daily Telegraph.
They are a part of a growing number of young men turning to the priesthood at a time when the vocation isn’t the most conventional option.
For 24-year-old Matthew Dimian the decision to join the seminary took time — trying out three degrees in the process — but ultimately was something he had always wanted to do.
“I remember when I was four and I used to tell people that I wanted to be a priest,” he said. “They would tell me that it was cute, it was very idealistic — similar to saying a firefighter or an astronaut.”
Now all under one roof at the former Kenilworth House in Harris Park in the Diocese of Parramatta, the seminary has many of the same comforts as an ordinary dormitory; shared dining spaces, games and TV room but the lessons taught in their classrooms are more closely linked to the divine.
Over a period of eight years, these men will learn the ins and outs of the Catholic Church and its teaching, alongside degrees of philosophy and theology studied at the University of Notre Dame and the Catholic Institute of Sydney.
“People often ask why I chose this path,” Mr Dimian said. “But what I tell them is that there is something in this path that can fulfil you in ways unlike any other career.”
But it hasn’t always been easy.
“For the first year when I joined the seminary my father kept asking me, ‘Are you sure you don’t want to be a doctor?’ There is a sense of loss because they (his parents) are expecting grandchildren ... but now they are so respectful and in fact quite proud that they have a son as a priest.”
Future priests maintain they are “just normal guys” (The Daily Telegraph)