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Almost 200 attend annual vocation seminar for diocesan priesthood

Participants listen intently to the sharing of one of the presenters.

BUNDU TUHAN – Almost 200 young men attended the annual vocation seminar for diocesan priesthood at the Bundu Tuhan Retreat Centre here on 13-15 Jan 2017.

One hundred eighty-seven participants came from the three dioceses: 120 from Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese, 44 from Keningau Diocese and 23 from Sandakan Diocese.

Joining them were 46 seminarians including three from Kuala Lumpur Archdiocese (doing their pastoral here), aspirants and seven priests including two Mill Hill Missionaries, Father Terry Burke and Father John McAuley.

Archbishop John Wong presided over the concelebrated opening Mass.  In his homily, he challenged the participants to reflect why they were there and who has drawn them to the seminar.

After dinner, Father Rayner Bisius welcomed the participants and briefed them on the programme before Seminarian Wilfred introduced them to the priestly vocation.

Sessions included sharings from Fr Michael Modoit (My Journey to Diocesan Priesthood) and Father Sunny Chung (My Ministry as a Diocesan Priest).  Time was given for personal reflection after each session.

Participants were also given time in the afternoon to speak individually to any of the priests present.  At the same time, the two Mill Hill priests were given the opportunity to share their missionary vocation.  A videoclip on vocation was screened.  Some seminarians also shared their stories.

Taize prayer and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament with Benediction were two forms of prayer used to facilitate the participants’  encounter with  the Lord.

A forum with Q&A session was held on the last day.  It was a lively session as the participants took part actively by raising up questions and doubts.

Father Simon Kontou presided over the closing Mass.  At the end of Mass, Fr Rayner announced the names of the 16 candidates who will join the aspirancy programme at the Catholic Archdiocesan Centre Penampang on February 3.

The names of the candidates are:
KK Archdiocese: Evisdateh Paul (Kiulu), Heldy Amin (kiulu), Ronald Aloysius (Limbahau), Xavier M John (Limbabau), Walter Pukin (Ranau), Welter Manjamin (Ranau), Desmond Kong (Terawi), Brandon Martin (Terawi), Roster L Solaiman (Bundu Tuhan), Adrian L Lojikip (Penampang).
Keningau Diocese: Simleton Pius (Keningau), Timothy Ivan Galisin (Keningau), Albady Marcus (Sook), Brywinedren Godon (Beaufort).
Sandakan Diocese: Adderly Benjamin (Sandakan), Jonathan Seah (Sandakan).

Following are what  some of the participants said about the seminar:

Carlos Alfero, 20, Penampang: The seminar was syok! [colloquial expression for something enjoyable].  I have learnt so many things and experiences about life in the seminary which I have never known before.

Philip Stanislaus, 18, Toboh Laut: I feel very happy because I know better now about the calling to the priesthood.  I have met many new friends and I feel glad that so many people are thinking about the priesthood like me. I am not alone in this journey.

Ronald Japar, 19, Nabawan: I know better about the priesthood now and the process of becoming a priest.  I learn many new things.

Duncan Benjamin, 17, Ranau: I feel really great and hope I will have the opportunity to participate again next year.  The activities, especially the ice-breakers – were really awesome.  I just can’t describe how happy I was to be there for the first time.  I have learnt a lot.  For example, to socialise with others, to gain more knowledge about the MHM, etc.  I would say it was one of the best seminars I have joined so far. – Seminarian Sylvester Wong

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