On April 17th, 2023, I renewed my Temporary Vows for the third time in Indonesia’s Francis Friary Chapel in Jakarta. It dawned on me that I had the experience of renewing my vows in the hands of three Provincial Ministers and my Custos to date. From my first profession of vows in the Philippines to my subsequent two renewals in Singapore and now in Indonesia.
This year, I find myself in my Franciscan year. God has led me to Indonesia to strengthen the connections between St. Anthony Custody of Malaysia-Singapore and St. Michael the Archangel Province of Indonesia. But the main reason I am here is to learn more about Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation and Eco-Pastoral, both in the fieldwork and in structured administration.
While being away from my brothers in the St. Anthony Custody of Malaysia-Singapore, I believe that God has prepared a unique path for me to experience Him. This path may be less traveled, but I trust that it is the right one for me. In every journey, be it healing from past wounds, restoring our hearts, or facing challenges in life, I believe that God is with me every step of the way.
At times, my focus may shift, and I may feel discouraged, but I know that the choice to follow this path is mine. This opportunity has taught me to step out of my comfort zone, encounter new things, and deepen my Franciscan spirituality as an Itinerant, much like Saint Francis of Assisi. He always praised the Lord in his journey and encounters with people.
In my encounters with the friars and people of Indonesia, I aspire not only to appreciate the differences and similarities in culture and language but also to allow God to guide me to see what He wants me to see and be what He wants me to be. Despite my weaknesses, I bear witness to how beautiful the world is made for all of us.
As I made my Third Renewal of Vows, I trust in God the Father to continue giving me the strength to see the world through the eyes of His Son, Christ Jesus.
– Friar Marvin Voo, OFM