A Chance Encounter That Paved the Way to Priesthood

vocation stories

Vocation Stories of the Newly- Ordained

Fr Francis Go Sheau Peng, Fr PhilipTay Kok How and Deacon Bonaventure Rayappan were ordained on Aug 6, 2020 at the Church of St Francis Xavier, Petaling Jaya.

A Chance Encounter That Paved the Way to Priesthood

By Cordelia Lee

Fr Francis Go (OFM Cap.) first received the call to the priesthood when he was still in secondary school; he did not respond to it. God called him the second time when he was 21 years old. And again, he ignored it. When Fr Francis received his calling for the third time outside St John’s Cathedral in Bukit Nanas, he readily embraced it and set forth to pursue a religious life.

As the eldest child among five siblings, Fr Francis was raised in a typical Chinese family. He was born in Segamat, Johor but raised in Gemas, in southern Negeri Sembilan.

“When I was about 16 years old, I saw the picture of Saint Anthony of Padua in a calendar. I said to myself,” Someday I want to be just like him,” revealed Fr Francis.

As a young man, Fr Francis was eager to venture forth and explore the world. Moreover, he was just starting his career in the IT industry. But a chance encounter with a Capuchin brother would forever change the course of his life.

The Call From Within

“One day, I saw a Capuchin friar standing outside St. John’s Cathedral. Somehow a soft inner voice suggested that I approach him. I guess I was also fascinated by his brown robe and long hood which looked somewhat mysterious,” Fr Francis related. “After we chatted for a while, I came to realize that the ‘Call from God’ had always been deep within me. Something stirred inside me and triggered a strong desire to consider a priestly vocation.”

By 2003, Fr. Francis took the first step towards priesthood and joined the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin as a postulant. After serving for two years, he entered the Novitiate in Baguio, Philippines and made his First Profession by 2006. He journeyed to Bangalore, India for his Franciscan Spirituality from 2008 to 2009. By the following year, Fr. Francis made his Perpetual Profession.

He returned to the Philippines to study Philosophy at Saint Anthony Mary Claret College and graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Philosophy and minoring in Psychology. He continued Theology studies at the Divine Word Seminary (SVD), Tagaytay in 2015.  After completing a four-year Ecclesiastical Course, Fr Francis took a Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology (STB) affiliated with Pontifical Urbaniana University, Rome, Italy. By May 2019, he returned to Malaysia.

During his formative years as a priest, Fr Francis looked up to the late Fr Ignatius Huang as his role model. “He was a kind and intellectual priest. I always looked up to him and drew inspiration from his teachings and advice,” he recalls.

“My greatest joy is being able to give powerful witness to the message of Jesus and the life of St. Francis of Assisi,” declares Fr Francis.

Fr Francis is currently attached to Gethsmani Friary, Cheras. He serves the local community and performs his apostolate at the Church of St. Francis of Assisi.