TENGHILAN, Tuaran – After a lengthy ten-year formation in the seminary, Deacon Russell Lawrine Samin was finally ordained as a priest, Nov 10, 2018 at St James Church here by Archbishop John Wong.
On this joyous day, turning up to celebrate and witness Deacon Russell being ordained to the priesthood were 2,000 parishioners from various parishes within and outside Tuaran area.
Now as ordained priest, Fr Russell describes his ordination as a manifestation of God’s love to all people. He admits that he is lacking and weak in many ways to serve God in His vineyard, but quick to acknowledge that God is also at work in him.
The continuous inspiration to assist him to fulfill this sacred call came from the blessings of prayers, strong presence of the Holy Spirit, advices and reprimands from many sources, among which came from the Archbishop himself, the priests, seminarian friends and from the faithful.
The friendships of many of those whom he studied with at St Peter’s College Kuching during the six years of formation was also a source of encouragement for him.
His mother was also in attendance with his three younger sisters and many of their relatives. Uttering a small cry, Fr Russell spoke to his mother, “Mom, even though I never heard the ‘Yes’ from dad (late), but I believe today he is smiling when he sees me, and he is praying for me.
“Mom, now I belong to everyone because I have come to serve and not to be served. But do not worry, I am still your son and a brother to all my three siblings.”
The celebration of Fr Russell’s ordination was organized by St John Tuaran parish and its outstation, St James Tenghilan (his home parish), chaired by the newly ordained’s uncle, Albert Tuin with parish priest Fr Edward Raymond and assistant priest Fr Abel Madisang as advisors.
Archbishop John Wong, shepherd of the local church, brought the faithful to see the “reality of today’s life where the family and the Church life are getting more complicated. The burden of the priest as the head of the Church community is also increasingly challenging.”
He called them to continuously pray for the priests, including the newly ordained Fr Russell, because “this is a service and a sacrifice, where a priest must be ready to be crucified”.
Besides prayer, the Archbishop said we must also help him in his priestly life because “a priest is also a human being. He can feel tired, or give up, or be emotional”.
“What more, in this age where temptations and trials are everywhere, it can ruin a priest if he is not helped,” he said.
He announced to the congregation that Fr Russell would continue to serve where he has been serving as a deacon; Sacred Heart Cathedral, Church of Mary Immaculate, St Paul Dontozidon, Our Lady of Queen of Peace Church Kobusak and St John Kopungit in Kota Kinabalu.
The celebration continued with a lunch fellowship at the church hall. Present at the ordination were priests from KK Archdiocese, Dioceses of Keningau and Sandakan, representatives from St Peter’s College, Kuching, Fr Eric Jerome and Fr Francis Dakun, religious brothers and sisters, and parishioners from all parishes where Fr Russell did his pastoral works.
Fr Russell celebrated his first Mass the next day at St James Church, with batchmate Fr Christopher Ireneus and Fr Edward Raymond as concelebrants . – Linda Edward