Dear Parishioners & Friends
Blessed Good Shepherd Sunday! Blessed Vocation Sunday!
During this Sunday it’s common that we get a seminarian to share their vocation journey in the hope to be able to inspire more young people to live their life more radically for the Jesus and hear the call of Good shepherd. The sharing below is from Scany Polycarp form Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu , a seminarian who is on his pastoral assignment in CHS for a year….
In the Gospel on this 4th Sunday of Easter, Jesus said, “The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice”.
As I reflected on these verses words of scripture, it relates to my own vocation story.
I began to hear God’s invitation when I was 19 years old. My serving as an altar server made me see what the priesthood is all about… The desire to be a priest was already in my heart and I know it’s the voice of God calling me softly but I was still not sure about it. I am the eldest son of the family and I have one younger sister. My father works as agriculture officer and my mother is a housewife. As the eldest son of the family, I was put as the one responsible for my family. When I started to think deeply about my desire to be a priest, my mother fully supported me but my father hesitated and he did not say anything. I have a heart to heart talk with him and he eventually understood and supported me but advised me to think deeply and told me that I needed someone to guide me. Then I told my parish priest, Fr Edward Raymond about my desire and he told me that I needed get to know what priesthood is all about first. It’s about giving my whole life to spread the Gospel and serve the people of God.
My parish priest guided me by allowing me to join him for Pastoral visits. He knew my desire, therefore he lead me and taught me many things. He gave me simple formations such as managing the sacristy and preparing for the Mass. Not only that, he also encouraged me to read the Bible more and he always shared his experiences as a priest. From there my desire to hear the calling became stronger. I went with him to visit the sick. When he anoints the sick, I can feel the presence of the Sacrament; I can feel the presence of God towards the sick. I really wanted to be someone who can bring the Love of God to someone and I wanted to do it by serving as a Priest.
Everything became clearer when I joined my parish priest on a visit to a very remote area. To reach the Chapel took about 2 hours journey and we needed a four-wheel car to go there. Because of the distance and bad condition of the road, the parishioners there only receive communion twice a year. Only when the priest goes there, then baptism, confirmation and marriage could take place. Sometimes we needed to walk and climb the hill while bringing all the things needed for mass and groceries together with our backpacks. When the villagers know the Priest will be coming, they will be so happy and start preparing for his coming. From there, I know that I had been called to be someone who can bring Jesus to them through the priesthood. I started to think deeply about the calling and I really want to serve the people. I really want to take this step and journey towards God. I want to lead my people, to learn and be a part of their spiritual life.
In 2013, I entered the seminary and joined the formation. After my formation in Sabah, I entered College General Seminary in Penang for two years and continued my pastoral formation at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, Penang for exposure. Along my journey and formation at the Seminary, it was like a journey in the wilderness. I learned many things and it was a meaningful journey even though there was a time when I wanted to give up. This journey is not easy but when I hear the voice of the Good Shepherd, I believe he will bring me to the green pastures and my desire is to be with my Shepherd, Our Lord Jesus Christ.
We hope and pray that the Good Shepherd draws you closer to himself and be a testimony of His Love. The Lord uses ordinary people as His instrument of His extraordinary grace.
Praying with you always
Fr. Joachim Robert & Fr. Michael Raymond OFM. Cap