HAVING consulted the College of Consultors, His Grace Most Reverend…
The newly ordained are not only adjusting to priesthood, celibacy and ministry; they are also adjusting to becoming leaders of parishes, with all the attendant administration, leadership and management challenges. Here is a candid sharing from Fr Mitchelly Kiun on his first year of priestly ministerial service:
1. What do you love most about being a priest?
Being a priest is to be able to preach and minister to the people of God. So to me, the most enjoyable moment is when I diligently prepare myself before every Sacrament of the Eucharist. Preparing myself means to immerse my worldly life into the spiritual Word so that I may be more Christ-like. In other words, the WORD OF GOD is my source of inspiration for my daily living, especially in my availability to help others and for my own spiritual growth.
2. What are some of the difficulties you experience?
Up to this moment my greatest challenge in my priesthood ministry is the battle against time. I may be spending time in administrative and pastoral work such as marriage interviews, house blessings, hospital visits, etc, but if all that ministry does not allow me to have time to pray and reflect, and rest, then I am on the road that leads to spiritual dryness. In other words, managing time and prioritizing my works and prayer life are important to balance my ministry.
3. How important is prayer? Is it always easy?
Prayer reflects my ministry. I can be piled up with so many appointments and services but if I cannot make time to stay with the Lord an hour a day, then I am heading for trouble in my ministry. So prayer translates into each moment that props up my ministerial life, but it does not mean that I pray 24 hours. It is prayer that sustains me, just as Jesus … he was tempted but two things helped him – prayer and Word of God. It is not easy but we need to be courageous and HAVE STRENGTH IN HIM FOR HE PROMISES US FULLNESS OF REDEMPTION.
4. Do you get time off? If so, what do you do?
Yes. It is the time to visit family members, and perhaps also the time to get out from the daily routine by spending time enjoying and appreciating God’s creation in scenery views, etc.
5. Are you allowed to have friends?
Yes. We should make more friends than enemies! … especially Godly friends.
6. Are you happy in your vocation, in your life and work for Christ?
Happiness is a sign that I’m happy with my vocation, though sometimes unhappy moments come along the way. However, I make sure that happiness is the greatest goal in everything I do.
7. The first five years of priesthood present unique challenges to the men adjusting life after ordination. Name one or two challenges you have encountered so far.
Yes, there is no automatic gear to adapt to every community, parish, or environment, but the challenge is to base my action and to move forward in line with the Mission and Vision of the Archdiocese. That is why after seminary formation, we were given time to learn, and to understand how a diocese is being run. So, there’s still a lot to learn and observe before any implementation can take place, and all this learning has contributed to making me wiser and more matured in my ministry. My final word is: Be glad and rejoice for HE IS WITH US ALL THE TIME.