Called To Serve

 

Ordination Mass SFX

CALLED TO SERVE

by Kathleen Sammy

Two priests and a deacon were gifted to the Church here recently on the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord on 6 August.

Rev Fr Philip Tay Kok How OCD, Rev Fr Francis Go Sheau Peng OFM Cap and Deacon Bonaventure A/L Rayappan (diocesan) were ordained by Archbishop Julian Leow of the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur at the Church of St Francis Xavier (SFX) PJ.

Priests, religious, family and friends celebrated the gift of these men to the Church; a wonderful respite in the midst of the pandemic. Nevertheless, safety SOPs were strictly adhered to.

Archbishop Julian said to Bro Bonaventure, “As a deacon, that is as a minister of Jesus Christ, who came among his disciples as one who served, do the will of God from the heart: serve the people in love and joy as you would the Lord… Never allow yourself to be turned away from the hope, offered by the Gospel.”

And to Deacons Philip and Francis, Archbishop exhorted, “Now, dear sons, you are to be raised to the Order of the Priesthood. For your part you will exercise the sacred duty of teaching in the name of Christ the Teacher. Impart to everyone the word of God which you have received with joy. Meditating on the law of the Lord, see that you believe what you read, that you teach what you believe, and that you practice what you teach… remember then that you are taken from among men and appointed on their behalf for those things that pertain to God. Therefore, carry out the ministry of Christ the Priest with constant joy and genuine love, attending not to your own concerns but those of Jesus Christ.”

He also reminded the deacons that just as Christ’s disciples returned to the plain to meet the people after the transfiguration, so must they as newly ordained priests - to serve others in this time of uncertainty amidst the pandemic. People are broken and in need of a shepherd, and those who are called to the priesthood must be present in the lives of the people. The Feast of the Transfiguration celebrated on their ordination should remind them that one day they will gaze upon the transfigured Lord Jesus if they remain faithful to their call. The Archbishop exhorted the people to remain faithful as well. In reference to the gospel reading, “Behold my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on Him,” we should all follow Jesus and listen to Him. The people were requested to keep the newly ordained priests and deacon in their prayers.

During the litany of supplication invoking the prayers of the saints, all knelt while the three men lay prostrate on the floor in an act of humble prayer and surrender to God. Rev Fr Gerard Theraviam was the presenting priest for the rite of ordination to the diaconate. During the calling of the candidates to the presbyterate, Rev Frs Kenneth Gopal OCD and Michael Teng OFM Cap were the presenting priests for their respective candidates.

In the final speech at the end of Mass which was delivered in turn by Deacon Bonaventure (Tamil version), Rev Fr Francis (Mandarin version) and Rev Fr Philip (English version) - the newly ordained expressed their deepest gratitude to His Grace Archbishop Julian Leow for ordaining them as priests and deacon describing it as “an honour and privilege”. They extended their thanks to Fr Norris Seenivasan SJ, Parish Priest of SFX, for his generosity as well as the staff and parishioners for their assistance. Their deepest thanks and gratitude went to the Master of Ceremonies, Rev Fr Michael Chua, who worked tirelessly to ensure the smooth proceedings of the Mass and to their formators, religious communities and Order, for journeying with them.

And finally, “To all our friends and family members, a big thank you for your presence and support. Above all, we thank God for all the blessings He has shown to us and His guidance all these years. As we continue with our journey as fellow pilgrims in this world, we humbly ask for your prayers as we also continue to pray for all of you, that in all that we do, we will do it for the good of the Church and for the greater glory of God. Thank you and God bless you all,” said Rev Fr Philip.

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the new priests did not offer individual blessings to the people after the Mass. Notebooks and bookmarks commemorating the event were distributed at the church entrance prior to the celebration. After the Mass, the people proceeded to the basement car park for lunch.