'Man of tremendous faith': Popular priest takes up new role

Fr Michael De Stoop. Picture: Giovanni Portelli, Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney

Fr Michael De Stoop. Picture: Giovanni Portelli, Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney

Our Lady of the Rosary (OLR) parish priest Father Michael De Stoop has become a familiar face at Fairfield train station handing out free soup to people and inviting them to church.

On Mother's Day each year, he also makes sure all mothers receives fresh flowers at Mass.

They are just two examples of why parishioners are sad to see him leave.

After five years in charge at OLR, Father Michael will leave the parish in mid-October and move to Homebush to take up a new role in which he'll be responsible for training young men to be priests from across Sydney.

His new appointment as rector of the Good Shepherd Seminary - where 43 men are currently training to be Catholic priests - follows on from his work for almost a decade as the Archdiocese of Sydney's Director of Vocations where he helped to recruit new people to the priesthood and religious life.

Father Michael said when he became parish priest he wanted to "bring all the migrant communities together to work together more collaboratively."

"One way I went about that was to hold an annual Harmony Day on March 21 where we were able to come together as a parish and celebrate the rich cultural diversity of Fairfield," said Father Michael, who has played a key role in helping those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic

"Through the Manna Food Project, we have reached out to people who've lost their jobs during the pandemic, packing food hampers for them and we also helped vulnerable members of the community including the elderly who couldn't go shopping during the pandemic."

Parish Liturgy Coordinator, Philip Pham said he was saddened to see Father Michael leave.

"He's a man of tremendous faith, energy and compassion and has gone a long way to supporting parishioners in need, especially during the pandemic. My great hope now is that the next parish priest will be blessed with the same vision and commitment as Father Michael," he said.

  • The parish is organising a special Mass to honour Father Michael De Stoop on October 7 which is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.