First things first, I do have permission given me to share Fr Jude’s testimony. Praise the Lord! This was sent by a friend and I contacted Fr to get his permission. Praise the Lord!
29/11/2016, 9:48 pm – This is a sharing from Fr. Jude David’s FB about a lovely thing that happened to him at the Vatican. Indeed, our God is a God of surprises:
“I don’t usually share stuff here but I think today I shall share an experience of our God of surprises. I’m in Rome with Shaun Liu and Gerald Lee for a meeting and it’s meant to be a short and intense period of meetings here and back to Singapore. I wasn’t expecting much from this trip other than fulfilling the responsibility of representing the Archdiocese of Singapore at this meeting. We arrived here yesterday and after a long and exhausting day, we went to bed last night and were hoping for a good rest. However, we were up early because we’re still adjusting to the time difference and I suggested to Shaun and Gerald that maybe we should take a walk to the Vatican to pray and maybe celebrate mass if we could although we have mass later this evening as well. I just felt this desire and prompting to go there and to pray for the Church, in particular the Church of Singapore and all the young people of the Church of Singapore that God has placed in our care.
As none of us are familiar with how things work around here, we innocently went to the Vatican, waited in queue and went in. Not knowing if I could celebrate mass, I went to the sacristy and asked and they pointed me to get vested and follow the assistants who were around. I expected to be taken to one of the side altars and just as I was walking out carrying the chalice and missal, a priest from the Vatican walked to me and said you are going to say mass in English, then he told the assistant to take me to celebrate mass at the altar containing the body of St John Paul II. He said to me, “You go and celebrate mass at the tomb of John Paul II”.
I was deeply surprised. We had come without making any reservations or plans and I’ve heard how difficult it is to be able to get a slot to celebrate mass at the altar of John Paul II.
John Paul II has been a big figure in my life. The scene of his attempted assassination and him forgiving his attempted assassin; his contagious love for Christ and His Church; his commitment to young people and his deep desire to be a shepherd for the flock of Christ everywhere has deeply inspired me in my own spiritual journey and vocation. I think of the number of times I’ve asked him to pray for me, especially during my seminary days when his photo used to hang in my room. Every time I felt it was too hard, I would ask him to pray for me from his place in Jesus Christ.
When I was appointed as chaplain to young people at OYP, I asked St John Paul II to accompany us and to be a patron of our young people and to lead us forward to conquer young hearts for Jesus Christ and so we placed his image in our humble chapel in OYP knowing he was guiding us with his saintly presence.
I felt so moved to be taken by Divine Providence today to his resting place in the Vatican and to be given the privilege of celebrating the Eucharist upon his earthly remains. It all felt very surreal but it was also emotional for me. So many thoughts and intentions rose up in my heart as I celebrated the Eucharist this morning – for the renewal of the Universal Church, for the Archdiocese of Singapore, for the young people of Singapore, for more vocations in our local Church and I prayed for all my brother seminarians in our seminary and how they may also experience the closeness of St John Paul II who encouraged me through all my struggles, I prayed for my parishioners, family, friends and so many who the Lord brought to my mind. It was a beautiful Eucharist for me and a sacred time of Grace.
We truly have a God of surprises. Just when I thought my intense morning of Grace was over, Shaun discovered the steps leading down to the tombs of the Popes as we were walking around St Peter’s and so we went down and for the first time, without planning, I saw the sepulchre of St Peter. Standing there, I felt so awed and just felt like I needed to spend time with him. I knelt down and I was moved to tears to be near the bones of the great St Peter himself. The one who made the great catch of fish at the command of Christ; the one whom Jesus desired to build His Church upon; the one who walked on water and got distracted; the one who would betray the Lord and yet would return to Him; the one who would run to see the empty tomb; the one whom Christ would exhort to “Feed my sheep”; the shepherd who would eventually learn to give his life for his flock following the Great Shepherd except asking to be hung upside down as he was not worthy to be crucified in the same way as His Savior. What an amazing man Peter was – so human, so broken, so unreliable and yet still chosen, Graced, sent and transformed to share in the Glory of Christ. I asked St Peter to teach me to love Jesus as he did, with all my human weaknesses and frailties, and to learn to shepherd the flock of Christ as he did. What a privilege to share in a minute way, the call to shepherd Christ’s Flock with such amazing shepherds Christ continues to raise up for His Church in every generation. St Peter and St John Paul II, please pray for us to love Jesus and His Church more everyday! One Flock, One Shepherd! Amen!
God has fed me even before He makes me work as the meetings begin soon. Please do pray for us even as we represent the little Church of Singapore amongst the Universal Church of our Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, we are One Flock with One Shepherd!”