Ever since his childhood, no other vocation ever presented as an option for Father Paddy Sykes.
This weekend, the Catholic priest marked his silver jubilee, celebrating 25 years of service to the faith.
To punctuate the occasion, on Sunday his parish at Our Lady of Fatima hosted an open-air mass at the tree chapel in the Botanic Gardens.
Attended by up to 400 people it was a comfortable, if tight,fit inside the archway.
Reflecting on his more than two decades as a man of the cloth, Father Paddy admits he could never have found a more fitting way to spend his life.
"I have long had a deeply personal sense that this is what God wanted me to do with my life," the 60-year-old said.
Borrowing a verse from the 16th-century philosopher Francis Bacon, Father Paddy described his eventual turn to the clergy as a natural result of the pursuit from the "hound of heaven".
"In The Hound Of Heaven it talks about how we might try to get away from it, but eventually the hound will catch up to us all," he said.
"I put it off, I made excuses, but eventually the hound got me."
Growing up in Humula, Father Paddy has spent his life in the Catholic church.
"I was baptised in Humula, went to a convent school in Tarcutta and then for high school I was boarding at St Ignatius in Sydney," he said.
While studying economics at the University of Sydney, Father Paddy again returned to his religious roots by living at the Catholic college.
"I call myself a 'cradle Catholic', I haven't ever ventured far from it," he said.
Following his tertiary graduation, Father Paddy spent several years as a chartered accountant, and returned to his family's Humula property to "run around after sheep and cattle".
But the tug of his faith meant he soon returned to the cloister.
Beginning his training at the age of 27, Father Paddy's religious journey has been shared across Griffith and Wagga, with a 12-year stint as a chaplain in the Royal Australian Navy in the middle.
Next year will mark his decade with the Wagga parish, a place he believes has been the best fit for him.
"I enjoyed my time in the navy but I wanted to come home and reconnect to parish life," he said.
"In the military, I was dealing mostly with young people, aged 17 to 30 but in the parish ministry, it's mostly older people.
"Here, they're dyed-in-the-wool Catholics who really understand and appreciate what a priest does in the community, more than it was in the military."
Hailing from a deeply spiritual family, the decision to enter the clergy was met by joyful tears two younger sisters, and entirely welcomed by his father and three younger brothers.
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"My father said he had always thought it would be something I do," he said.
"At boarding school, I definitely had priests I admired and respected that led me to consider becoming a priest. That was a thought that never went away."
Unfortunately, having died from cancer when he was only 12 years old, his mother did not live to see what her son would become. But, he has no doubt she would have been proud of his decision.
Never has there been a time when Father Paddy has questioned his faith or his vocation.
"There have been times when I was training, some fellas would decide to leave and I'd look at these talented gregarious men and think 'gosh, look at them, I don't have what they have, why am I still here? But it's good to question," he said.
"I believe I'm doing what God wants me to do. I think I have gifts in this area, and proclaiming the gospel has its merits and attractiveness."
But the journey has not been without its immense sacrifice.
"In my earlier days, celibacy was an issue, I've had to come to terms with the fact I will never have children," he said.
"Everyone calls me 'father', but I have no biological children. That was hard when I started."
Even in the midst of the sacrifice, Father Paddy said, his joy in the position has always been greater.
"As a priest, people invite you into their lives for their most significant moments, their weddings, their christenings, their family's funerals," he said.
"I've never taken for granted the privilege it is to see people at their highs and lows."