Be not afraid, come follow me

The Archdiocese Vocation Promotion Team (AVPT), headed by Fr Christopher Soosaipillai, conducted their Vocation Promotion Campaign on Sunday July 16 a

Aug 12, 2017

By Francis Magimay
The Archdiocese Vocation Promotion Team (AVPT), headed by Fr Christopher Soosaipillai, conducted their Vocation Promotion Campaign on Sunday July 16 at the Church of Our Lady of Fatima. The team held the youth session at Dewan Fatima, and Fr Christopher joined them between the three morning Masses.

During the morning Mass, Fr Christopher, in his homily, related his journey towards answering his vocation, which took place in the parish of Our Lady of Fatima. As a ten year old, sitting at the back of the church, he moved to join the choir, and then the ministry of lectors and commentators, each time moving closer towards the altar until, finally, he heard God calling him. Today, he celebrates the mystery of the Eucharist wherever God calls him to serve.

God’s call is like a spark that gets the fire going. He related the story of St John Marie Vianney. The saint was not a man of high intelligence; however, his heart was for God. Prior to his ordination, many had told him that he did not have the vocation to the priesthood but, with God, all things are possible. St John Marie Vianney knelt before the Tabernacle and prayed, “I see Him and He sees me.” By his prayer, he revealed that the heart is powerful. Fr Christopher then introduced the rest of the religious who attended the Vocation Promotion Drive: Bro Joachim Heng, a Marist Brother; Sr Roseling, Sr Bibianah and Sr Madeline from the Daughters of St Paul. They came to share their respective vocation stories during the homily at Mass and at the youth sessions at Dewan Fatima.

The youth comprised students from Forms 1 to 5 and was divided into English and Tamil language groups. A few teachers and parents also attended the session.

Bro Heng said many devoted people in his life had guided him towards his Marist vocation: his parents, teachers and priests. The parish priest in his home town, Penang, played the most important role. On completing primary school, the parish priest brought him to the Marist Brothers’ Juniorate in Singapore to continue his secondary education there, and 50 years later, he continues to serve, without ever looking back. The Marist Brothers guided him and God and Our Lady inspired and cared for him. In serving His Church, the Lord has graced him with an abundance of peace, love and joy.

Sr Roseling shared on how her mother had inspired her with her own experience in working with the Franciscan Sisters. When she approached her mother with her intention to join the religious life, her mother advised her to pray about her vocation and finish her secondary education. On completing her studies, her mother encouraged her to gain some work experience before entering the religious life. She tried her hand at several jobs, one of which was as an assistant pharmacist in a district hospital in Sarawak. After a period of intense discernment and with God’s guidance, she took her religious vows with the Daughters of St Paul, and has been serving there for the past 15 years. She urged parents to pray for their children, as God will guide and show them the right direction.

Francis and Jasmine Thomas shared their life story as a married couple. They had both served in the Diocesan level organising committee and at the Chapel in Taman Sri Muda, Shah Alam. Francis was attracted to Jasmine as a prayerful person always carrying her Bible. He decided that she would make a good life partner for him as they both enjoyed serving the Lord. A convert from Sikhism to Catholicism, Jasmine remained shy and cautious about rushing into marriage. They continued to develop a deep friendship and, after a period of eight years, she saw Christ in him and decided that God had given him to her as a gift; a wonderful man who would care for her, like no other. The lovely couple shared that we need to pray and ask God’s guidance to show and give us the right life partner. Marriage is no bed of roses, since it has its ups and downs. However, with God at the centre of this beautiful union, wonders can take place, as the head of the family is neither the husband nor wife, but God himself. Marriage is a sacrament that demands total respect. As a family, we should continue to pray, read the Bible and encourage our children to read the Holy Word, which promises peace, harmony, love, joy and serenity in the family.

The word ‘vocation’ should not spark fear in us. On the contrary, it should spark the joy of the Lord and excitement in leading a life where we know that God is always walking beside us. However, this conviction does not come when we don’t seek it. The message throughout the Vocation Promotion Campaign echoed the importance of God’s word in our lives. It is in reading, meditating, internalising, believing and trusting in His word that His will in our lives will be revealed to us, with promises of peace, joy, love and serenity following us as we take those steps to walk on that journey of faith with Him, whatever our call may be.

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