Oi tobpinai ngaavi ku id di Tuhan Otumbazaan zou do…
INANAM (CS) – June 15 was a day of great rejoicing for the faith community of St Catherine Church, Inanam as they witnessed the ordination of Fr Maxmilliano Benhor Hontor, who hails from Kg Inanam Laut, Inanam.
The joy was immense as Fr Maximilliano was the second priest to be ordained from the parish, the first being Fr Patrick Jerome, after a void of 23 years.
Archbishop John Wong, the minister of the sacrament was joined at the altar by Archbishop Emeritus John Lee and clergy from the arch/dioceses of Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan and Keningau.
The prelate shared the happiness with the faithful and reiterated that the conferring of the Sacrament of Holy Orders on Fr Max is meant to be celebrated together as a people of God, as through it the apostolic ministry is now fully bestowed on Fr Max to enable him to minister Christ to the people of God, especially through the offering of the sacrifice of the Eucharist.
To Fr Max, the Archbishop welcomed him into the presbyterate and thanked him for the courage to say yes to his priestly calling. By his ordination, the bishop assured him of his preparedness for the priestly ministry. He also reminded him that the priestly calling is to service and not to status, and encouraged him to serve the people with care and humility under the guidance and leading of the Holy Spirit. He believed that the Holy Spirit would help Fr Max to be a priest after the heart of God.
In the few words, the new priest, filled with joy. could only express his gratitude for the communal support from the Archbishop, priests, formator, spiritual director, and to all who have played a part throughout his formation.
Born in 1977 in Kg Inanam Laut, the neo-ordained was the fourth child in a brood of 9 born to Soike bte Guasong, a Catholic and Hontor bin Tuyad who has yet to embrace Catholicism. He was baptized in 1995 at the age of 18.
Right after baptism he plunged into Church activities, involving particularly the youth and the choir. Giving service was something that he really found fulfilling. It had its challenges like the time when he was elected to be the chairman of KUK in his kampung, and which he was to discover only possible because of the support and encouragement given to him.
Enlarging his service to the Church, he decided to respond to God’s invitation to the priestly calling after attending a vocation seminar and a follow-up retreat. Of the many obstacles he had to overcome, the biggest of which were to give up his job and his relationship with his girlfriend. Coming out of this experience, he realized that God always answered prayers and that He was always with him. It was this same sense of the perpetual presence and faithful love of God that guided and helped him through his formation and pastoral work.
In his pastoral exposure, he recognizes that the pastoral work of a priest is to build up the faith and hope of the people in the love of God. He is fully aware that pastoral work consists of both the “sweet and bitter” which is necessary for him to focus on Jesus, and to grow in wisdom to understand the length and the breadth of his priestly service in the vineyard of God.
He asks for the continual prayers of all so that he would be a strong and courageous priest, willing to serve and not be served as he takes up his posting at St Peter Claver Parish, Ranau.