A Sense of Emptiness That Sparked A Desire for Priesthood

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A Sense of Emptiness That Sparked a Desire for the Priesthood

By Cordelia Lee

Deacon Bonaventure Rayappan seemed to have it all.  Born and raised in Klang, he is the youngest child in a family of five, including his parents.

“My schooling years were great. Besides learning from new experiences, I made a lot of friends who eventually became my best buddies. I must thank my parents because they gave me the liberty to explore,” recounted Dn Bonaventure.

Of course, Dn Bonaventure’s parents also cautioned their son not to overdo things as there is always a limit.

“I am happy that I was able to explore various possibilities during my teenage years because now I can distinguish between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world,” he explained.

After obtaining a certification in Business Administration right after secondary school, Dn Bonaventure joined his father’s canopy rental business. By the time he was 21, Dn Bonaventure took over the family business. Life was smooth sailing as everything was going well. Things began to unravel in his life soon after and he realized what he was missing the most —God!

“My discernment towards priesthood began when I was 23 years old. I was happily running the business and working my level best to achieve success. Everything was going according to plan. I had almost everything I wanted yet I felt something was missing. At that point, I felt a big void in my life.” This emptiness brought him back to his Church where he had been an active member during his formative years.

“I had been a very active member of my parish until Confirmation. Old memories were then rekindled and this made me go back to church,” Dn Bonaventure reminisced.

One fateful day, Dn Bonaventure met with his cousin who was a seminarian (Fr. Vincent Tomas) and related about his back-to-church experience. His cousin shared enthusiastically about his own involvement in the seminary and casually asked if Dn Bonaventure had ever thought about the priesthood.

“I was startled, as I had never thought about being a priest! But my cousin was not one who gives up easily,” said Dn Bonaventure.

“He urged me to reconsider and reflect on God's calling. At first, I paid little attention to whatever he was saying.  However, it dawned on me later, that by joining the priesthood, I would be fulfilling God's will. Slowly, I started to realise what I felt was my vocation.”

After much soul-searching, contemplation, prayer and constant encouragement from his cousin, Dn Bonaventure began to seriously consider the possibility of life-long priesthood. He finally contacted the Archdiocese Vocation Director.

“Although my cousin gave up his job and a comfortable life, he was still able to live a joyful and peaceful life compared to me: I had almost everything but was living contrary to my calling. This made me discern the call of God,” revealed Dn Bonaventure.

In 2013, Dn Bonaventure entered College General for his initiation year and continued Philosophy studies until 2015. After completing his studies, Dn Bonaventure enrolled at St. Peter's College in 2016 for Theology studies. He graduated in May 2020 and is currently posted at the Church of St. Anne, Port Klang for pastoral duties.