New priest for Kuching Archdiocese

The Archdiocese of Kuching rejoiced as her faithful witnessed the 30th priest, John Ekly Direk, being ordained in St Joseph’s Cathedral on 1 May 2019.

May 18, 2019

By Audrey Yu
The Archdiocese of Kuching rejoiced as her faithful witnessed the 30th priest, John Ekly Direk, being ordained in St Joseph’s Cathedral on 1 May 2019.

The Ordination Mass saw the presence of Archbishop John Wong of Kota Kinabalu, and priests who were the classmates of Fr John Direk.

At the Rite of Ordination, Archbishop Simon Poh anointed the palms of Fr John Direk with Chrism Oil. He then placed the paten and the chalice in the hands of the newly ordained and said, “Receive the offering of the holy people to be rendered to God. Understand what you do, imitate what you celebrate, and conform your life to the mystery of the Lord’s Cross.”

The Archbishop, before the final dismissal, addressed the newly ordained and reminded him to always keep in mind his ordination day. “When you prostrate on the floor of the Cathedral, you are surrendering yourself totally, in humility and total dependence on the Lord Jesus, while we invoke the Saints and pray for you,” he said.

“Seek to act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with your Lord,” said the prelate.

Archbishop Simon also thanked the family of Fr John for presenting their son to the service of God. “We pray and implore God to bless Fr John’s parents and family for their generosity in offering their son for the priestly ministry in our Archdiocese,” he said.Fr John, 39, hails from Kpg Apar, Singai, Bau. He is the second of 14 children born to Direk Ak Jiom and Liseness Ak Gadim. Before joining the seminary in 2010, he was an electrician for ten years.

The seed of vocation to the priesthood was planted when he began serving at the altar since his primary school years. After finishing his secondary education, the young John was actively involved in the Youth Ministry of Singai Zone.

It all began in 2005 at the Youth Gathering held at the Catholic Memorial and Pilgrimage Centre (CMPC). John was assigned to play the character of Fr Felix Westerwoudt in the sketch on how Christianity first came to Singai. In order to play the character well, he read the book on Fr Felix Westerwoudt. It was then that his desire to become a priest grew.

In 2009, John finally disclosed to his parents of his desire to enter the seminary. “I faced no objection at all,” the newly ordained said in his speech. However, this did not mean he was worry-free. “I went ahead with all the doubts of what would happen next. But today, after all the experiences I have gone through in the seminary, I can tell you that it is worth giving yourselves a try,” he shared.

John’s seminary formation began in 2010. His pastoral immersion was diverse, with different lay ministries and at different parishes. On 23 September 2018, he was ordained a deacon at St Stephen’s Church, Bau.

Fr John told the congregation that his ordination does not make him ‘superhuman’, but serves as a reminder of his new identity and responsibility. “This priestly ordination gave me a new identity and a new way of life. It becomes a reminder for me of all the responsibilities I have to carry, for the people of God I will be serving,” he said.

After Mass, a thanksgiving dinner was held at the Archdiocesan Curia and Cathedral Pastoral Centre (ACCPC), giving the congregation the opportunity to meet the newly ordained priest.

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