A perfectly joyful Friar


With joy do I look at these few photos of a living saint. No, he is not about to be canonised. He is still kicking and alive, and living it up with joy as a Franciscan friar for the past sixty years. On this wonderful day, 4 October, as we recall the Founder of the Franciscan order, St Francis of Assisi, I would like to pay tribute to an 86 year old Franciscan friar. He celebrated his Diamond jubilee this year in February 2014.

With amazement I looked at Fr Bonaventure Tung, now based in Taipeh, and I thank God for the gift of this grand old priest. He lives simply and most joyfully, I have to add. I could not believe it when I heard that he was the one who would be with us to celebrate our Masses each time. Was it right? After all, when he left us to be a hermit for three years in Morocco , he was already a senior priest.

So it was with deep gratitude that I observed the grace of God in his life. I could only gaze in awe at the wonderful life the Lord has blessed this pint-sized priest. Faithfully he would turn up to celebrate the Eucharist for us each day and to act as a Spirit-filled SD to a few retreatants.

I was first richly blessed upon my arrival at the airport in Taiwan. We had to take a short bus journey of less than two hours up to Beatitude Mountain, and I was given the privilege to listen to Fr. Bonaventure share his thoughts with me. Praise God for  sending him to sit next to me in the coach. Praise the Lord!

We had a safe and smooth journey. Throughout I was finding out more about the friar and he was so joyful in his sharing. I learnt that he speaks several languages. Among the many topics that we shared, these were all included: To follow the will of God. To be detached from all that is earthly. To rejoice in the providence of God. To thank God for his goodness!

The topics should give one an inkling of what matters uppermost in the life of Fr. Bonaventure. May the Lord bless him with many more fruitful years of ministry! Praise the Lord!