On Friday. after seven years of study and a joy-filled ceremony at St Christopher's Cathedral in Manuka in Canberra, Father Paul Nulley became what is believed to be Australia's youngest Catholic priest, reports The Canberra Times.
The 25-year-old, who grew up in the Canberra suburb of Theodore, the middle son of Lou and Gabi Nulley, was ordained at St Christopher's on Friday night by his first seminary rector and mentor, the newly installed Archbishop of Hobart, Julian Porteous, who challenged him to 'be a man of God.'
And Father Nulley felt more certain than ever about his decision to give his life to God. 'It was funny how right it felt,' he said. 'It just felt so natural. This is who I am now.'
The ordination was attended by 115 priests and seminarians. It was followed fewer than 12 hours later by Father Nulley leading his first Mass, again at St Christopher's, on Saturday. Yesterday (Sunday), he celebrated Mass with parishioners at Holy Family Church in Gowrie. He couldn't stop smiling because of 'The joy that's been overflowing recently,' he said. 'It was really special.
'Just having that cross-over of leaving the seminary, these people have been my family, and then also getting to celebrate with mum and dad and the rest of the family.'
Father Nulley shared his seven years of study between the Seminary of the Good Shepherd in Sydney and Corpus Christi College in Melbourne. The Canberra Times interviewed him more than six years ago in the early stage of his journey.
With the Catholic Church having gone through a torrid time because of priests involved in sexual abuse, Father Nulley said he was still willing to commit to the church and make the necessary sacrifices, including being celibate, because he believed in its higher values and was energised by the power of prayer. 'When you hear of those scandals, it makes me very angry. t is absolutely contradictory to the values of the church,' he said.