OLF youth gain insight on religious life

Fr Patrick Massang CSsR and Sr Maria Dipal RGS shared about their religious life in two online sessions held on August 22 and 29 for Level 9 students from the Church of Our Lady of Fatima (OLF).

Sep 11, 2021

Fr Patrick Massang CSsR and Sr Maria Dipal RGS shared about their religious life in two online sessions held on August 22 and 29 for Level 9 students from the Church of Our Lady of Fatima (OLF).

Despite the sessions being held online, we were still able to feel and sense their passion, enthusiasm and drive towards the work they do. We had never really given much thought about religious life - we didn't think of it as a potential career choice. We assumed that the religious life was going to be all black and white, with no fun and only strict rules. However, we were proven wrong while listening to Fr Patrick and Sr Maria’s talks.

A new perspective on religious life
Fr Patrick, a Redemptorist priest, shared his journey to the priesthood. We learned about the hardships he faced, his doubts, his sacrifices as well as the great joy he has found in serving God. It gave us a new perspective of religious life, as well as a great sense of admiration for the duties of a priest, who are still very busy during the pandemic.

Fr Patrick mentioned that he was at first rejected for the seminary because he didn’t seem ready, but he chose to trust God’s timing and plan for him and resumed his normal life until God finally called him back. We learned that we should always open our hearts to God and listen for his calling.

Fr Patrick also talked about the sacrifices he made when entering the priesthood, how he was assigned to a church in a tiny village in Sarawak despite being unable to understand the local language and not being fond of water (he had to travel by boat along rivers). Fr Patrick managed to overcome the odds and used his musical talent as a way to raise funds to help improve the quality of life for the locals. Listening to Fr Patrick’s stories and experiences reminded us that priests and religious are human too.

The joy of being a Good Shepherd Nun
Sr Maria answered the call to pursue Jesus and shared the joys of being a Good Shepherd Sister.

Sr Maria spoke about how the Good Shepherd Sisters help women and children who have been abused. We felt inspired by the Good Shepherd Sisters. We were struck when she mentioned the parable of the lost sheep to us. The parable spoke about how Jesus left the ninety-nine sheep just to go after the one as mentioned in Luke 15: 4-5. Jesus rejoiced once the lost sheep was found.

Most of us would question this parable because, in cinematic movies, we often see that it is better to sacrifice one person to save hundreds. However, Sr Maria mentioned that even one sheep is important to the shepherd, in the sense that Jesus is the shepherd and we are the lost sheep and the angels in heaven will sing in chorus when one returns to God.

By society’s standards, it is easy for us to be labelled as useless and unworthy but in the eyes of God who is ever so loving and kind, we are worth more than we are aware of.

Sr Maria then showed a video of the testimonies of several Good Shepherd Sisters. They spoke about how rewarding and emotionally fulfilling their job was. Aspiring to be like the shepherd himself, the Sisters shared God’s love with the needy, the lonely and the underprivileged.

We think that it is especially important for us to share God’s love with everyone, especially now during the pandemic. It is very easy to allow ourselves to be consumed by loneliness and caught up in all our problems and even to forget how much God truly loves and cares for us.

On behalf of all our classmates, we are very grateful to our catechists for organising this session as well as Fr Patrick Massang and Sr Maria Dipal for sharing their experiences. It was a very valuable session that has definitely piqued our interest in our faith. We encourage youth to look into the lives of the religious and cast aside their fear to serve God, whether it be to serve in a church ministry or look into the path of priesthood. — By Lara Tej Kaur and Christian Shalom Felix

Below are some sharings from our Level Nine classmates:

“I felt very lucky to be a part of this talk. It is not often that we get to be in the presence of such people and hear them talk about their experiences. I learned that while this is a difficult profession to be in, it is most definitely a rewarding one.’’ — Aaron

“Fr Patrick and Sr Maria were really nice and friendly. What I learned is to always be thankful and grateful for what I have and not to compare or complain about what I don’t have. It was really sad when Sr Maria was talking about how some of the Africans were eating sand and how some people were finding it hard to go to school.’’ — Serrah Anne Anthony

“It is touching to see how we, as Catholics, can have a great impact on someone’s life by helping people and looking out for them.” — Sanjaanah Arumugam

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