A former partner in a major Sydney law firm, Graham will be the next priest ordained in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, following the ordinations of Fr John Lovell and Fr Anthony Coloma in March.
At 54, just a few years younger than Fr Lovell, Graham’s ordination will continue an increasing trend of older men joining the priesthood later in life.
After watching his son spend decades forging a successful legal career, Greg said he was shocked when Graham told him he was giving it all up to become a priest.
“He was always a devout catholic but I was very surprised when he told me his plans,” Greg said. “He argued lots of cases in front of the big red judges, was in charge of junior solicitors and won a lot more cases than he lost but he was no prima donna. He always had a very strong feeling of giving back.”
Born and bred in the Hunter Valley, Graham attended St Patrick’s Primary School, Cessnock, and Marist Brothers Maitland. He will return to the Diocese in June after spending the last four years studying at the Pontifical Beda College in Rome.
Men who aspire to the priesthood early in life must complete up to seven years of formation in local seminaries in their own country. However, older candidates are often sent overseas to colleges like the Beda that specifically cater for mature age students, and offer an intensive course of studies across four years.
Some years ago, at the start of his new life, Graham was interviewed by a Sydney newspaper where he discussed the areas of his legal career he was happy to leave behind. “No minimum billable hours, timesheets, humungous court preparation deadlines or documents to draft in international transactions in many time zones,” he told the Inner West Weekly.
Despite working very long hours as a lawyer, and enduring the pressure of the profession, Greg says Graham still found time to join a St Vincent de Paul food truck late at night and help those in need.
“Graham is sincere, trustworthy and knowledgeable and he’ll make a great addition to the priesthood,” Greg said. “Aside from that I’ll also be very happy to have him back home.”
Graham Fullick’s ordination date has yet to be set.