Answering the call

The four newly ordained Franciscans were called to the Order of Deacons by Archbishop William Goh at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, Singapore on Nov 26, 2021.

Jul 08, 2022

Archbishop John Wong presiding over the ordination Mass of the four Franciscan Friars.

KOTA KINABALU: The four newly ordained Franciscans were called to the Order of Deacons by Archbishop William Goh at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, Singapore on Nov 26, 2021.

After their diaconate, Crispus was sent to Risen Christ Parish, Air Itam, Penang; Sixtus to St Joseph Parish, Plentong, Johor; Gerald Saimel was in St Dominic Parish, Lahad Datu, Sabah, and Cosmas in St Theresa, Tambunan, Sabah, for their pastoral immersion.

This group of relatively young men had promising careers in the secular world before joining the Order of Friars Minor (OFM), a mendicant religious order.

Cosmas, 47, was previously in the hospitality line while Gerald, 35, who has a Masters degree in counselling psychology, worked as a tutor at Universiti Malaysia Sabah and served as a professional counsellor at the Sacred Heart Cathedral.

Crispus, 36, and Sixtus, 35, were both English teachers, having taught in Sabah’s east coast, Beluran and Sandakan districts respectively, before answering the call to their vocation.

The quad did their eight-year formation at the St Francis Xavier Major Seminary, Singapore.

What was it that inspired these young men to wholeheartedly give their lives to God? Below is one thing that drew them to the priesthood:

Crispus Mosinoh
Choosing the path of ministerial priesthood is a call within a call. I felt the call to be at the service of the laity in unfolding the baptismal grace as an ordained Franciscan. Being an ordained friar will allow me to serve and minister to the people of God by administering the Sacred Rites.

Cosmas Francis
My wonderful experience of God’s love and forgiveness through the Sacrament of Confession is one reason. I want to share that God’s love is greater than our sins. My experience of God’s mercy through words of comfort and encouragement from the priest every time I made my confession helped restore my strength and faith in God. I want to inspire others to continue to hope in the mystery of God’s salvation even though we fall many times.

Gerald Terence
I can say with confidence and sincerity that if God has chosen me to be His servant and His herald through the ministry of the Diaconate, it is only because He is the One who served me first. He announced the Good News of His unconditional love through many people to whom I am endlessly grateful.

Sixtus Pitah
When I was a teenager, I used to follow our parish priest on outstation trips to celebrate Mass. These outstation posts were so remote that a priest could only visit once a month, if not, once in two months. The yearning and joy I saw on the faces of the faithful were like an invitation from God for me to also be the channel of God’s love through the ministering of the sacraments.

Total Comments:1

Devout Catholic
Dear Herald Editor/ newly ordained C.Mosinoh, C.Francis, G.Terence and S.Pitah and East Malaysian Catholic Church. Thank you once again for this wonderful article. To the newly ordained Franciscans from Sabah each of your God experience narrative is truly inspiring and beautiful! I believe this calling is down to the strong faith practiced at home. It was nurtured by your family mothers (60%), fathers 25% and grandparents 15%). Bonus support was contributed by church/ priests, lay leaders and devout Catholic friends. Agree? Besides, I am certain all four of you come from very humble background and hardly "affluent". Hence, you newly ordained priests have corrected a misconception highlighted by the Archbishop W. Goh in his recent interview on being made a cardinal. His Grace W. Goh attributed that Singapore being a rich nation has an insignificant number of its youngsters joining the religious vocation. He explained when interviewed, that those from their 30s onwards only want to know their purpose in life given they come from affluent families. Unlike in other Asian countries (believe he was referring to the Philippines, and perhaps Malaysia), there are many who join the religious life to "escape poverty". Hmm... But are their parents traditional Catholics? That is a pertinent question. On the other hand, here we have four individuals who have been successful in their respective careers and yet have answered the call. Interesting scenarios! I would like to make a humble suggestion to the Churches in Sabah (Kadazans) and Sarawak (Ibans, other natives) to encourage their youths especially those in their mid 20s onwards to attend at least a one-week retreat at either Divine Retreat Centre Kerala, India headed by Fr Augustine (their retreat starts on Saturdays and ends on Fridays) or Logos Retreat Centre, Bangalore, India led by Fr Jose (Mon- Fri) to have their faith strengthened and deeply enlightened by the word of God to know their purpose in life. You will see a complete change in all the parishes there. Please start a revolving fund for those who could contribute towards a highly noble cause, as not all of them can afford the air fare, accommodation and small offering (during Mass for their church as it is part of our Catholic obligation). Do get the West Malaysians also to support if need be. Send them in batches of a minimum 10 pax. My estimation each may need about (RM3,500). They do allow some to stay on as volunteers, not sure how the payment works) but they get to help with eucharist celebration. I see a native from East Malaysia who does the reading at the early morning online Mass at Divine Retreat Centre Kerala. This youth does an excellent job. Thanks to Fr Augustine, a true visionary! Once you do that, you will notice a vibrant church. Besides, these East Malaysian states, too, will see a complete transformation. Remember the capital of a nation is its people (those who studied abroad will affirm this)! There will be mandatory counselling sessions by the religious and others during the retreat, so they can air their grievances, fears etc. Because these youths are traditional Christians, India will easily give them a tourist visa. Should you embark on this, make sure the ones who experienced God (visions, messages, healings, answered prayers) must testify. They should continue this mission with other young working adults who are also experiencing all sorts of life challenges, including their faith. Looking forward to seeing them during online mass and reading their testimonies. God Bless.