Thank God Ahead of Time

Adi ORdination BishopLaysHands 350On Saturday 10 July 2021, I was ordained to the Priesthood of Jesus Christ in our Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Bendigo.After several postponements due to COVID-19 restrictions it finally happened.   Despite public health restrictions, the Ordination Mass was beautifully and prayerfully celebrated.

Having said that, there were a number of family and friends who were not able to attend in person, including my parents who are still in Indonesia. Thankfully, my sister Eveline was able to fly from Western Australia, together with some close friends, despite the uncertainty of travel that was looming just a few days beforehand.

I will be based at St Brendan’s Parish Shepparton until mid-September before returning to Rome to complete a postgraduate degree in Canon Law, after which I hope to return and serve as a priest of the Diocese.

Reflecting on the nature of priesthood, I am reminded by the words of the document of the Second Vatican Council on the ministry and life of priests, Presbyterorum ordinis. The second paragraph says:

“The Lord Jesus […] has established ministers among his faithful to unite them together in one body […]. These ministers in the society of the faithful are able by the sacred power of orders to offer sacrifice and to forgive sins, and they perform their priestly office publicly […] in the name of Christ.” It is both honouring and humbling that mere men are able to offer prayers to God on behalf of His people and at the same time to be their pastors as God as commanded them.

On a personal level, I see priesthood as a gift that I don’t deserve. My vocation to the diocesan priesthood started when I was still living in Perth. My mother’s illness (thank God she has recovered since) really made me reflect on my Christian faith and my future. At around the same time, a new Indonesian chaplain arrived from Indonesia and he struck me as someone who is convinced of his vocation as a follower of Christ and as a priest. Not long after, I came across the work of Fr Rob Galea who was doing his ministry in Perth. After having listened to his podcasts and talks, especially his vocation story entitled “Consider it” – I came to realise that God was gently calling me to the Priesthood.

My connection with Sandhurst Diocese began not long after that. While I was still discerning, I was in contact with the diocesan youth ministry in Perth, which had started a Stronger Youth “pilot project”.  Although not extensively, I was involved in some of their projects and eventually travelled to Harrietville for my very first Stronger Retreat in 2011.  Although the retreat was not specifically about one’s vocation, there were strong themes on how we are invited to follow God’s will in our lives.  Stronger played a key role in nurturing my vocation – and as they say – the rest is history.

 

I have been blessed with the friendships that I began in Sandhurst; one of them is with Fr Rob Galea.  As part of the rite, a newly ordained priest, with the help of another priest, is vested with the stole and chasuble; the garments that are worn by a priest when he celebrates the Eucharist. I asked Fr Rob to assist me with vesting during the Ordination, as a sign of gratitude for his friendship and support for me. Fr Rob later said to me:

 “My heart felt so full during the ordination; in fact I could not hold back the tears (I am just grateful we had to wear facemasks to hide it). To        think that Adi, a young adult who I met at an event in Perth, would later join our Stronger Youth Ministry, and eventually end up in the seminary; is now a priest. My mind is still blown at the thought of what God has done in and through your life. I know that God will continue to bless you and use you in ways you never even thought possible”.

Adi Ordination FrRobAssistWithChasuble

In my thanksgiving remark towards end of the Ordination Mass, I quoted a Franciscan Capuchin friar who was beatified in 2017, Blessed Solanus Casey, OFM. Cap from the United States who once said: “Thank God ahead of time.” What a wonderful attitude towards life. What confidence he had in God.

Ever since I came across that saying of Blessed Solanus, I have tried my best to thank God ahead of time. Amidst the joy and sadness in life; the blessings and challenges, He is and will still be faithful. I entrust my life, and now my ministry as a priest, in His love and mercy.