There have been a few inspiring moments that made me very hopeful for the ministry of the priesthood, at least for the near future and within the S-E Asian region.
One is to see that our seminarians have taken to using their skills towards their homily practices at a more regular pace and frequency in their introduction to the psalms during their prayer times at the chapel. Their stories and sharing in relation to the psalms and prayers which we will do later is a good way to get them to form their homilies in time to come when they do begin their ministry of the Word later. All of their introductions thus far have been inspirational, offering much food for thought, and also creating an atmosphere of attentive prayer where one is taken and prepared into even as we move towards singing the hymn that follows after that. This is a practice that came into the Seminary only recently and it is a timely one, too.
This would allow the seminarians now to learn how to formulate their thoughts well, seek out ideas and homily aids, all to break open the Word to the faithful to understand and digest better, so that the People of God can be better inspired to live out their calling as sons and daughters of God that we all are. It is a small contribution to bringing about a better and orderly manner to homilies in the pulpit during Mass by priests in general, and to slowly do away with sloppy and unprepared ones...
Another inspiring sign on this ministry, is the homily today by the newly ordained priest Fr Andrew Stephen (Malaysian), who celebrated Mass for our community in the seminary. He was here with us this morning as a traditional practice for all newly ordained from this Seminary to come back and celebrate a Mass for us. His homily spoke of his struggles from his younger days when he never paid any attention to his studies and school, but through the miraculous grace of God, still managed to rise up to life's challenges and ended up beng a priest today. He could safely and proudly say that, apart from his 'O' levels certificate which he just got through, through the skin of his teeth, the only other paper qualification he managed to receive was his degree in Theology from the Baccalaureate exams before he graduated from Seminary studies. That's really a feat of going from 'zero' to 'hero' in such a short period of time!
Of course , all this is only possible through the very grace and blessings of God and his love for us all.
"He is happy, who is helped by Jacob's God" (Ps 145)