INOBONG, Penampang – Newly ordained Fr Gilbert Marcus Dompok, 37, remembered with gratitude the many hands that went into forming him to become what God calls him to be, a priest for the people of God.
Close on the heels of the priestly ordination of Deacon Russell Lawrine on November 10, 2018, the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu rejoices over yet another priest being added to the presbyterate.
Archbishop John Wong ordained Deacon Gilbert to the priesthood at Sacred Heart Church here on Nov 20, before a 2000-crowd.
The newly ordained is the fifth priest ordained from upper Moyog and the first priest ordained in the young parish of Holy Trinity Inobong (4 years old).
With a grateful heart, Fr Gilbert recalled back each person who has helped him since childhood, forming him as a Catholic, until he underwent formation in the seminary towards the office of priesthood.
He sees in each, their unique role in helping him by their encouragement and friendship, and through their ministry and service in the Church, in sustaining him throughout his priestly formation journey.
Among them were his own family members, especially his youngest brother, Celistine Marcus, who has helped him to settle his loans so that he could enter the seminary. Fr Gilbert said it was not easy for him to find a solution to his finanical problem, but he held on to his dream and was confident that it would be fulfilled, which was proven so on the day of his ordination.
His heart swelled with gratefulness as he recalled that his father has never stopped him from making the decision to be a priest, which has greatly inspired him to press on.
Then there was his older brother, Fr Florian Marcus, who is now serving in Kota Belud, having himself been ordained in 2011, and has been a source of inspiration.
Fr Florian once said to his younger brother “To love but the world, the world will disappear; to love only people, know that people will die; to love only flowers, even flowers will one day wilt; but to love Jesus is forever!”
Fr Gilbert also thanked all the catechists who have taught him in Sunday school since he was 11, as well as the formators in all the three seminaries: the Aspirant Formation House at CDC KK, St Peter’s College KK for Initiation Year, and the major seminary St Peter’s College in Kuching.
He entered the seminary in 2010 after having worked as Admin Assistant in three offices namely, Attorney General Office Kuala Lumpur, Department of Information Sabah, and the Royal Malaysian Customs Department Sabah since 2002.
Archbishop Wong, who conferred the rite for ordination, believes that both parents of the ordinand would certainly be happy in heaven seeing they have given birth to two priests in the family.
The Archbishop, while saying that Fr Gilbert would henceforth live his life as a priest and would need support from all of God’s people, asked that the newly ordained be given time to grow in his priesthood ministry.
He went on to speak about the heart of a priest, saying he wants to tell a story he once heard, which says that a priest has seven hearts and that it is not easy for a priest to have all seven hearts because he is also a weak man. The story goes like this:
“The first heart is the heart of a Father who teaches and protects.
“The second heart is the heart of a Child who acknowledges God as his Father.
“The third heart is the heart of a Brother who accepts all people as his brother and sister.
“The fourth heart is the heart of a Husband who loves the Church and her people.
“The fifth heart is the heart of a Friend who is reliable and ready to help.
“The sixth heart is the heart of a Shepherd who is concerned about his flock, reaching out to the lost and defending the oppressed.
“Finally, the seventh heart is the heart like that of Christ, willing to sacrifice in the name of love.”
The seven hearts depict a perfect character of a priest, Archbishop Wong concluded, and if a priest has not reached these perfect characters, the people need to pray for him; not only for the newly ordained, but for all priests under the archdiocese. He then announced that Fr Gilbert would continue to serve in St Michael Parish, Penampang. – Linda Edward