"The Journey is My Destination"

In the August 2018 edition of Sandpiper, Adonis Peña described his journey towards the priesthood in Australia as “a total self-giving to whatever God has in store for me …"  Two years on and Adonis still maintains this credo, in turn quoting Monsignor Frank Marriott who had advised him to “keep goal setting, know where you are going and enjoy the ride.”
It has been a long ride since Adoinis worked on an international IT Help Desk in the Philippines.  Cebu born and raised, Adonis completed a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, and worked as a systems network engineer while volunteering in the life of his local parish.  All the while the preisthood was on Adonis' mind and, in 2017, he decided to start his priestly formation and commenced philisophy studies at a seminary in Cebu.  It was during this time that he learned of the opportunity to study for the priesthood in Australia.
Adonis admits many aspects of his life at Corpus Christi College, so far away from home physically and culturally, have been much harder than he had anticipated.  After the first year, his homesickness became so bad it started to negatively impact his academic studies. Reflecting on this difficult time, Adonis says, “Struggles are healthy, struggles are good, because if you are not struggling, you are not progressing”.

In July 2018 I left my family, I left my good friends, I left my profession.  I have survived two good strong years in a new environment, with new weather, new food and new challenges.   I have also formed a new perspective on life.  For all of these things I am so grateful. I am grateful to be living in Australia, the fruit of which compels me to stay on this journey to the priesthood,” says Adonis. 

During Covid-19 restrictions, Adonis has been staying at St Kilian’s presbytery, where he has been growing vegetables and herbs and preparing Filipino-style barbeques.  He says he is lucky Fr Junray is a fantastic cook, but he has heard that Fr Jinjo in Bright and Myrtleford might be even better when it comes to traditional Filipino dishes.  Adonis says he has now learned how to keep warm,  to use Australian colloquialisms, while enjoying chicken parmigiana, scones with strawberry jam and cream and apple crumble.  He has become an Essendon supporter under the obvious influence of “Jacko” (aka Seminarian Jackson Saunders) and because his name ‘Don’ is part of “Essen-don.” On his birthday recently, at Masses in in Violet Town and Euroa, Adonis shared his thoughts with parishioners:

“In order for me to embrace every struggle in my journey, I must remain positive in my perspective in the light of the words of St Paul to the Ephesians. Like him, I must urge myself "to lead a life worthy of the vocation to which I am called. With all humility and gentleness, and with patience." 

“I will be for ever grateful that God has led me to this life and to this side of the world, called and trusted to serve. I cherish my memories of my mother, Sally, who was so supportive and believed in the life to which I am called. I am thankful for Bishop Les for accepting me and introducing me to the Diocese and to Bishop Shane.  I am grateful for to Father Junray who has been guiding me, especially during my time at St Kilian’s when I am away from the seminary.” 

“I have four years remaining in the journey to the day of ordination; however the real destination is the journey itself. Living each present moment is when I encounter God's plan for me, for tomorrow has its tomorrow to unfold and tell me what's next. No one can tell me what lies ahead, but only in my constant and unfailing relationship with my Lord, can I find peace of mind, knowing that He will look after every step of my way. 

This journey is my destination. "

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