Thursday, May 27, 2010


About two years ago, I got interviewed. I found it relevant to reread my responses to the questions. These give me a headstart in rediscovering my priesthood as the Year for Priests is about to end.

How did it feel entering your occupation?

Fulfilled. But it is not an occupation. I would rather refer to it as a vocation. In an occupation, the fulfillment would be professional gains, personal growth, monetary rewards. In a vocation, it is the inner peace of pursuing what one discerns as one’s unique calling in life. When I returned to the seminary to pursue priesthood, after two years off, I felt most fulfilled.

What still inspires you to stick with your occupation? Why?

I made a commitment, and for me, that is what keeps me in the vocation. There are of course tangible rewards, the support of family, friends, people I serve, but I hope that although these may all dwindle, the commitment I made to be faithful to the priesthood will keep me going. This is because priesthood is a calling and a gift, and also a personal response. I am not worthy to be a priest, but that God chose me to become one, is motive enough for me to be gratefully faithful.

How do you earn a living?

Priests do not actually earn a living. Life finds them.* The Archdiocese (the Local Church) supports me, providing lodging and food, and daily upkeep, as well as a modest but fair enough allowance for personal needs and social obligations.

(*On hindsight, I could have spiritualized the question. As an insight from experience though, I am deeply convinced that priesthood makes one amazingly grace-filled life. "Whoever loses his life for my sake shall find it." - Mt 16:25)

As a priest? What do you usually give importance to? Why?

It has to be service – to the Church and her mission especially to the most in need – those we refer to as the least, the lost and the last – the marginalized in various aspects.

Are there any risks in being a priest? How?

There are definitely many risks entailed in being a priest.

First of all, a priest is called to a life of solitude – to be able to live alone in total dedication to the Gospel, without a wife for a lifetime partner. The priest’s lifetime partner is the Church. Among others, there is then the risk of an uncertain future. Anxious questions also come to my mind – who will take care of me when I grow old? With whom will I share my twilight years? What if I get sick and invalid? What if I am no longer able to serve? What will happen in the future?

And of course, real and immediate are the risks of the mission. As priests, we are called to be prophets – to announce what is true, good and just and of course denounce and go against what is false, evil and unjust. And often our lives are put at the forefront of the struggle for a God-centered, just and humane social order. Often, the structures of sin resist confrontation, and the perpetrators of such would not hesitate to counter-attack.

The first risk is however part of the personal choice, made in faith. And the second, part of the mission we embraced, kept aflame with love.