The Custody sent a sizeable contingent to this year’s Malaysia-Singapore Young Priests Gathering. Our nine young priests joined 33 other young priests from the two countries for the gathering hosted by the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur from 10 to 13 October 2022.
The annual Young Priests Gathering is organised by the Episcopal Commission for Diocesan Priests and Seminaries headed by Bishop Richard Ng of Miri. It is a time of ongoing formation, and allows the young priests to catch up with each other and strengthen fraternal bonds as they share their experiences and challenges in priestly ministry.
The gathering is for young priests who have been ordained for less than five years. Our participants this year were Friars Aiden Peter Jr, Claurence Motoyou, Cosmas Francis, Crispus Mosinoh, David Au, Don Don Ramerez, Esmond Chua, Gerald Terence and Sixtus Pitah.
It was a fruitful time for our young priests. Not only were they able to exchange ideas and share their challenges and personal struggles, they also had a day of recollection with Fr Michael Raymond OFM Cap and Msgr Mitchel Joseph.
Both speakers shared important and useful tips, touching on the psychosocial aspect of priestly ministry, compassion fatigue, stress management, the importance of accompaniment, and defence mechanism.
Msgr Mitchel invited them to deepen their understanding of the priesthood. He said,
“It’s vital for us, as priests, to continue to pay attention to the pulse of our own spiritual growth. We tend to be functional in ministry rather than looking into holiness seriously. There is no real ministry without holiness”.
The participants also had the opportunity to visit churches around Kuala Lumpur such as Church of Holy Family in Kajang and Church of Divine Mercy.
The next Young Priests Gathering will be held in Sandakan, Sabah from 1 to 5 May 2023.
Let us continue to pray for these young shepherds who have given their lives to care for the Lord’s sheep, and to minister to their needs. We praise and thank God for the gift of their vocation.
In June, four student friars were sent to Sabah for Mission Exposure. Friars Timothy Fong and Sylvester Singh had a pastoral attachment with Montfort Youth Training Centre (MYTC) in the town of Kinarut, working with the staff, trainees and young adults. Friars Marvin Voo and Julian Chua were assigned to assist the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (FSIC) with their youth apostolate, migrant and parish ministries across Kota Kinabalu, Keningau, and Sandakan. They each share a little of that three-week Mission Exposure experience from 12 June to 1 July.
On a fine Saturday morning in July, in the presence of more than 750 people comprising friars, family, friends and parishioners, Friar Nelson Evarinus made his Solemn Profession to observe the Rule of St Francis according to the Constitutions of the Order of Friars Minor. His family and other relatives had made the trek from different parts of Sabah for a front-row seat to witness this milestone in Nelson’s journey as a Franciscan friar.
Friar Nelson is Kadazan, an indigenous ethnic group in Sabah, and it was important for him and the friars that his cultural roots be honoured. Kadazan culture abounded throughout the liturgy. Dancers in traditional colourful clothing made their way up to the church as part of the dramatic entrance procession, and the rousing music, song and local dance inspired spontaneous participation amongst the congregants, especially the stirring renditions of the “Gloria” and “Alleluia”.
Provincial Minister Friar Phillip Miscamble received Nelson’s profession at the Mass at the Church of St Aloysius in Limbanak, Kota Kinabalu on 9 July. In his homily, Friar Phillip said, “Your brothers and sisters welcome the call that you have received, and we will be there to support you as you go forward. Keep radiating the joy of the Gospel with your beautiful smile. Continue to pass along the goodness of God’s people, and build the Kingdom every day of your life.”
At the end of the Mass, Friar Phillip reminded everyone that Francis realised that “the hand of the Lord rested upon him” and as such, the first thing to do in life is to welcome life, and welcome the gifts that the Lord with goodness and graciousness freely bestows. Francis learned to embrace everything and everyone, and this, Friar Philip said, is possible for all of us.
When asked to describe the emotions that ran through his mind before and during the rite of his Solemn Profession, Nelson shared, “I felt a profound sense of peace. It felt right. I was happy to make the offering to God and to make the promise to Jesus Christ to follow the Gospel as well as I am able.”