In July, Father Michael Kelly celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ordination as a priest.

Father Michael grew up in Parramatta, where he was educated at St Monica’s Primary School in North Parramatta and Marist Brothers Parramatta. At the age of 18, he entered the relatively new St Benedict’s Monastery at Arcadia and, over many ensuing years, continued his tertiary education at St Columban’s College, the University of New England and in Rome.

In 1970, he was ordained as a priest, and it is this anniversary we are celebrating this year. Sadly, like our parish’s 50th birthday, we were unable to have the grand party we would have preferred, but we did join in congratulating him at a special mass in the parish church in July (appropriately socially distanced, of course).

Father Michael has served as Parish Priest at Arcadia, led the St Benedict’s Arcadia Monastery for many years, lectured in meditation (including on two visits to Timor Leste), and authored a number of articles. He is particularly interested in desert spirituality as he feels that, in the desert, where we are stripped of our worldly trappings and have no human support systems to fall back on, we must confront ourselves before God.

He is committed to the revitalisation and positivity of monastic life, monastic spirituality and the humble Benedictine devotion to prayer and work. In 2007, Father Michael was elected for his first six-year term as the 115th Abbot General of the world-wide Sylvestrine Benedictines. He moved to live and work in Rome in the historic monastery of St Stefano del Cacco, which dates back to about the beginning of the 9th century. He was re-elected in 2013 and finally came home in 2019. How proud our parish is of his wonderful work in Australia and around the world. Congratulations Father Michael.

Picture shows Father Michael at his celebratory mass together with his cousin Liz. It’s been an amazing life’s journey for this boy from Parramatta.

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