Fr Thomas McFadden was born in 1980, professed First Vows in 2005 and was ordained a priest in 2013. In preparation for his ordination, he was sent to Rome to complete a Licence in Fundamental Theology at the Gregorian University. He speaks both Italian and Spanish. He is currently the National Vocation Director and lives at Leichhardt.
I am a Capuchin Friar and was recently ordained as a priest (Feb, 2013). I grew up in Werrington (near Penrith) NSW, and am from a family of five with two younger brothers.
God led me to the Capuchins in stages. I first noticed a slight desire for priesthood towards the end of high school but did not really begin discerning until I was about twenty and midway through my engineering studies. The desire began to grow in silent Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament where I was drawn into a deeper interior relationship with Christ.
This then led me to want to respond through service of some kind. I became more involved in my parish (Our Lady of the Rosary, St Marys) through various groups and apostolates - youth group, St Vincent de Paul, as a catechist - and grew in my love for Holy Mass.
A desire and thirst for Christ had developed within me that was compelling me to want to give my life completely to God and to His Church, but I was hesitant since I did not know much about religious life, nor how suited I would be to it. I knew that there was some desire within me for a life of prayer and service. I also knew that I would never choose a way of life that I knew very little about – just as I wouldn’t marry someone whom I barely knew. I felt I owed it to God to at least check out religious life to give God a chance to call me to it if it was His will – and He did fan into a flame that spark of desire He had placed within me.
The Capuchin Friars were one of the Orders I investigated. I was immediately taken back by the kindness, generosity, peacefulness, prayerfulness and happiness of the friars. As I got to know them better, I was impressed by their love for the Church, the Pope and Our Blessed Mother, by the way they prayed the Liturgy, the way they lived fraternal life together and the way they balanced and integrated a life of prayer and an active ministry of service.
Although I did not know much at that stage about the life of the Order’s founder, St Francis of Assisi, there was something about the Order’s charism that was attractive. After reading about Francis, I was overwhelmingly inspired by his life and insights, and came to recognise his spirit in the Capuchin Friars I had come to know. I then grew to be inspired by other saints such as St Anthony of Padua and a more recent Capuchin saint, Padre Pio. These were men of heroic virtue whose lives and example intensified my desire.
I came to the point where I discerned as much as I could from outside the Order, and I knew that the only way I could discern any more clearly was by beginning to actually live the Capuchin religious life. So after the completion of my engineering and teaching studies I joined the Capuchin postulancy program. This meant living in the building next door to the friary with others discerning this way of life, under the direction of one of the friars. It involved deepening my knowledge of the Catholic faith through study of the Catechism and coming to know and live the Capuchin life. We began praying the Liturgy of the Church throughout the day, and took on Capuchin ministries with the poor. I found that it was through the actual living of the life that I could confirm that this was the life that God was calling me to.
My life as a friar has been a truly remarkable and joyful experience. I thank God for the many blessings I have received and ask that He may continue to guide and direct me in my Capuchin life, that I may be an authentic Christian witness and humble servant of the Lord. May God be praised!
Go to: Our Men in Formation