Coming together in thanksgiving

The 25th Sacerdotal anniversary of Fr Michael Raymond OFM Cap was a celebration of his priesthood and thanksgiving for God’s abundant mercies.

Aug 12, 2022

Fr Michael Raymond OFM Cap with the clergy who came for his jubilee celebration.

By Sharon Chandra

The 25th Sacerdotal anniversary of Fr Michael Raymond OFM Cap was a celebration of his priesthood and thanksgiving for God’s abundant mercies. On August 6, the Church of Divine Mercy (CDM), where he has been parish priest for the last two years, was filled for the Mass to mark the auspicious event.

Concelebrating were Fr Michael’s fellow jubilarians. Bishop Sebastian Francis, Archbishop Emeritus Murphy Pakiam, who ordained Fr Michael, and Bishop Emeritus Antony Selvanayagam were also present. Several priests and his Capuchin brothers, seminarians, family members, former parishioners and well-wishers from various dioceses, and a few priests from Australia flew in to join the festivity.

In his homily, Fr Michael reiterated what he said at his ordination: “Master it is good to be here.” As he unravelled the day’s gospel on the feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, Fr Michael spoke of how mountains have always been linked to sacred places where one could experience the presence of God. The climb up the mountain, however arduous, was not merely about conquering the mountain but about conquering oneself — habitual patterns or addictions — and finding strength from those journeying alongside or even in the quiet moments of self-awareness. Two important aspects of the climb were first ‘learning to see” or the process of seeing God at work in us. The second element was “learning to listen”, which he linked to the spirituality of contemplation. The grace of God to help us learn to see and learn to listen and enter into contemplation were what Peter, James, and John experienced on Mt Tabor, said Fr Michael.

PPC chairperson, Zeckry Chan, in his address, recalled his welcoming speech to the new parish priest in October 2020, when he encouraged Fr Michael to walk in his own shoes. Little did he know how Fr Michael would take the parish on an amazing journey, pandemic notwithstanding. Zeckry also expressed the parishioners’ joy in being able to help organise and join in the celebration of his silver jubilee.

Bishop Sebastian affirmed Fr Michael’s priesthood journey. The prelate said, 25 years ago, first as a deacon and then as a priest, Fr Michael put on the identity of Christ and he continued to be that servant of Christ.

Several little surprises were prepared for the man of the hour including a video presentation highlighting his journey from childhood through seminary and into his priesthood, two papal blessings - one from the parish and another from the Capuchin friars, and a custom-made stole. A spiritual bouquet comprising prayers and works of mercy was offered by the Catechism children. There was also a commemorative book filled with tributes, milestones, and memorable photographs, as well as nuggets of background information.

Fr Michael, in his thanksgiving speech, recapped that the climb of his priesthood journey was beautiful, an ascent into spirituality, with its many trials and challenges but always one in which he felt free at heart and full of joy. He thanked all who helped him along the way and who continued to journey with him. “The climb continues. The ascent and descent.

Mount Tabor, the mountain ahead, and the descent to Jerusalem. It’s a lifelong adventure for us to step into the Transfiguration, to enter into the glory of the revelation of God’s glory” concluded Fr Michael.

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