The Journey of Fr Mahir – A Husband, Father, and Priest

10 Fr Mahir and family


In the vibrant tapestry of life, there are stories that resonate with the divine, tales of unexpected turns and profound encounters that lead souls to their true calling. Such is the story of Father Mahir Murad, a Chaldean husband, father and a priest, whose journey unfolded in the embrace of love, family, and an unwavering call from heaven.

Born in Zakho, Northern Iraq in 1983, Fr Murad moved to Melbourne with his family at age nine for peace and a brighter future. Little did he know that his life would take a different turn later and become a testament to the extraordinary ways in which God works.

A transformative turn came about at 24, when the young Mahir Murad had just finished university and had entered into work life when he experienced a divine encounter with Christ, setting the stage for a life dedicated to serving God and his community. He later met and married his now wife, Rasha in 2011. He was 28.

The couple had four children — two boys, Yeshua and Joshua, now in heaven, and two girls, Maryam and Rosary, still walking the earthly journey. After nine years of family life, Mahir Murad found himself prompted by God to take a path less travelled, and answer a call to the priesthood.

“I have been aware of God’s call for something. During the coronavirus outbreak, I heard a whisper from God saying, ‘Mahir, what do you think of the priesthood?’ Since then, the whisper kept getting louder and louder. I communicated my thoughts and whispers to my bishop and inquired about the possibility of becoming a priest.”

The couple later met with the bishop to talk things over.


“One day, I spoke with my wife and asked her what she thought. She began crying and said, ‘Please Mahir, I cannot give you my yes’. After a while, I brought up the conversation with my wife again. She cried again.

“I suggested that we turn to prayer and if God wills, it will come to pass.”

That night Mahir prayed to God and asked: “Lord, I know you’re calling me to the priesthood, I am giving you my yes, but now I need you to put peace into my wife’s heart that everything will be ok, I have done my part. Now it’s time to do your part, I’ll leave it to you.”

After weeks of spiritual discernment, Rasha felt a transformative love and peace within her, a confirmation that the path towards priesthood was not a solo journey but a shared one with her husband.

“[She said] Mahir I don’t know what’s happening, but I feel like God is doing something to me. I have this love and peace in my heart about the priesthood. Let’s go ahead with the priesthood. I want to go ahead with it.”

With Rasha’s resounding yes, the couple embarked on the sacred journey towards the priesthood, a decision not made lightly, but rooted in faith and trust. Before the sacred vestments were on his shoulders, Murad’s journey began through the ranks of sub-deaconship and diaconate, which led him to his priestly ordination. It was April 14th, 2023.

Reflecting on his decision, Fr Murad says it wasn’t one of seeking comfort but of embracing the greatness for which humans were created for.

“I had the option to live a quiet and comfortable life or a public and uncomfortable life. I chose the priesthood because I knew God would work through me. My joy comes from being at church, spending time with the youth, and serving the community. Like any other profession, the priesthood experiences joys and sorrows, and ups and downs.

“In the priesthood, your boss is God, and he is a great boss who takes care of his employees, which is different from other professions. The joys of being a priest are those when people place their burdens on you and are seeking your help,” he says

Eight months later and Fr Mahir’s joy is obvious, serving the community and guiding the youth, finding fulfilment in shouldering the burdens of those seeking solace.

Balancing social life?

What about balance? Does the new priest have time for his family and friends?

“My wife and I had a conversation that was centred around this question. The truth is, after I became a priest, my wife and I did not change our lifestyles, neither in our clothing, nor in our outings, nor in our attitudes, nor in our social lives. The reason why is because we were already living a life that was Christ-like in our words, thoughts and deeds.

“She is a modest woman who cherishes her faith and family. The wife’s influence on her husband’s vocation to the priesthood is significant. If a family isn’t practising the faith in its entirety, if a man becomes a priest, there will be challenges and problems. The priesthood should not alter the way a man and his family behave or think, but rather lead by example.

“I agree that if the wife and children are not living the Christian life, if the priesthood enters the family, there will be a lot of problems, a lot of changes, a lot of criticism. In a sense, your life becomes public, people will look at the way you act, the way you speak, the way you raise a family, the way you talk to your children, the way you dress, the places you go, most attention will be on the wife and children, but the wife carries most of that burden.”


The 40-year-old priest and father says he has no regrets.

“I love every minute of it. I am filled with joy when I encounter people. Priesthood is not a job; it is not a 9-5 job where you clock in and clock out. Serving my people is what priesthood is all about and it truly brings me joy,” says Fr Murad.

He even asks his wife frequently whether she thinks it was a good decision or not.

“I would like to think she hasn’t regretted it and loves every moment. I know because I always ask her. She always says, ‘Since I said yes, I have seen God do wonders and bring blessings upon me and the family’”.

More priests please?

Could more men, married with/without children become priests? The challenge, Fr Murad says, lies not in the shortage of priests but in a culture that often drowns out the call of God with its noise. Men, surrounded by a world promoting freedom and exploration, struggle to commit to marriage, let alone chastity, he says.

“The current culture teaches young men to be free and to explore their sexuality, which often puts men in a dark alley where they end up being miserable once they find themselves fighting the addiction of lust, porn and sexuality.”

Celibate priests find true freedom in love, unburdened by the chains of lust and worldly desires, he says.

“I’ve encountered numerous [celibate] priests who are content and joyful in their lives. In the Chaldean church, marrying is not allowed after becoming a priest. The start of marriage is before priesthood, and this is a common practice in the vast majority of Catholic rites in the Roman Catholic Church.

“I think ultimately, it’s what God wants.”

Fr Murad added that God sometimes calls married men to the priesthood, and sometimes he calls men to be celibate. All Christians are called to be chaste, which means “the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of [the human person] in his [or her] bodily and spiritual being”. (CCC2337) Married people are called to live conjugal chastity; others practise chastity in continence (CCC2349).

Fr Murad said that being called to the priesthood as a married man is a blessing. Being vigilant is a must because priesthood comes with its own challenges and blessings. He emphasises the importance of a family rooted in faith for a priest to maintain his priestly identity.

Fr Murad’s story is a symphony of love, faith, and divine calling — a melody that echoes through the corridors of time, inspiring others to listen for their own divine whispers amidst life’s cacophony.

He now serves as the parish priest at Our Lady Guardian of Plants, a Chaldean Catholic church in Melbourne. The Chaldean Catholic church is one of 23 Catholic rites, it comes with its own unique identity, liturgical prayers, canon, and Church system.

Photo: Supplied: Sweet Dream Images – Video and Photography

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