50 years as a priest


Fr Tom gave some pointers on how he made it for 50 years.  His sermon also mentioned his home background, his hard life and his joy at being a priest. He is a happy priest.

Fr Tom was ordained at a time when Vatican II had just begun. 1965. He came from a family with 8 children. The last child was a girl. He had a brother who joined the diocese and this brother priest died of cancer about 7 years ago. He came from a family that was very Catholic and strong in the faith. He remembers to this day the image of his own father who would kneel for about ten to fifteen minutes each morning in prayer.

His vocation came early in life.  He was ordained a priest on 18 December 1965.

I thank God for the gift of Fr. Tom who is such a joy to share my faith with. . . Praise God!








Rest in peace

P1120981t P1120982r P1120983r P1120984r P1120985r P1120986r P1120987r P1120988r P1120989r P1120990rP1120991r P1120992r P1120993r P1120994r P1120995rP1130006r P1130007rP1120998rP1120999rP1130002rP1130003rP1130004rP1130006rP1130007rP1130008rP1130009rP1130010rP1130010rP1130011r P1130012r P1130013r P1130014r P1130015r P1130016r P1130017r P1130018r P1130019r P1130020rP1130021r P1130022r P1130023r P1130024r P1130025r P1130026r P1130027r P1130028r P1130029rP1130030r P1130031r P1130032r P1130033r P1130034r P1130035r P1130038r P1130039r P1130043r P1130044rIn everything there is a season. A time to be born and a time to die. And it is true. We know not the day or the hour. We are on the journey and we are called to be ever vigilant for we will be summoned home, sometimes with the grace to prepare as the nun in these photos did. She was an Ursuline nun, aged 85 and the only Catholic in the family. Yet, she was sent off in a grand manner, with the attendance of the Bishop of Chiangmai, ten priests and religious with lay people, Catholics and non Catholics too. I do believe that that funeral mass would draw the grace of God for the conversion of those open enough to receive. I recall how a young boy was so touched by the way a funeral mass was conducted that he gave his life as a priest in later years. Praise the Lord!

My friends had wanted to visit the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart on the day prior to our departure. But I suggested that we visit the grave of the late Fr. Iker first. We did. We also saw the graves of many other missionaries. When it was over, we crossed the road to go to the Cathedral. Immediately I recognise the signs pointing to a funeral. It was such a blessing. We not only spoke to the Bishop, a very gentle person, like most Thai people. Then we decided to join the mass. It was my first Thai funeral mass. Although I could not understand the language, I was deeply moved by the hymns that were sung. There was the pianist and the flutist adding to the solemnity of the occasion with their skilful renditions.

What impressed me too was to see the students who played the musical instruments during the procession from the convent nearby. These were students in the Catholic school run by some of the nuns, I believe. I had no chance to find out why the soldiers had the honour of carrying the coffin of Sr. Marie.  Besides that, I was impressed by most of the women present at the funeral mass. They seemed to be wearing their Sunday best although the colour was black. Smart looking and so dignified. There was reverence shown through the silence kept. Praise God!

So there is a season for everything. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to laugh and a time to weep. Whatever it is, may we always find time with our loved ones. We know not the day or the hour. Praise God!

Cathedral of St Francis Xavier, Xian

The great missionary – St Francis Xavier. This is an old cathedral named after this Jesuit priest. I recall having read about the way he tried to evangelise. . . Praise God! Sometimes one has to be a fool for Christ. St Francis did, and it was worth it. Today we have many churches and seminaries named after him. We also have many young men full of love for God, ready to walk in his foot steps. This is surely cause for rejoicing!

Here in this cathedral we had our last mass, thus ending a delightful trip to China and Inner Mongolia. Praise God!

More to share on Church of Immaculate Conception

Faith – one has to nurture it, and when times are bad it is even more crucial. Look then to the photos shown and see the faith of the Christians. . .see what legacy has been handed down to them. I was personally moved by a photo on the wall that showed Catholics celebrating their first Christmas mass.  The Saviour of the world has come! Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to all people of good will. The photo reminds me that I have to cherish my faith. Yes, nothing will prevail against the church, but have we the faith to believe and to hold on, in good times and in bad times as well?

Walking about the little room that housed relics from of old, one could also sense the pride of our brothers and sisters in Christ. One keeps and one cherishes treasures of the church because one desires to pass them on to future generations.  How we in our country with freedom of worship must continually thank God for the grace.

Truly at this church one senses too the strong virtue of gratitude for CICM missionaries who braved all circumstances so that the Good News might  be preached to the ends of the earth. This was one of the places many of us felt really moved. It is evident that our fellow brothers and sisters love the Lord . . . May they continue to enjoy the freedom of worshipping our Lord! Enjoy!

Er Shi Si Qing Di -Church of the Immaculate Heart

A memorable visit – this is what we enjoyed. It was a time to celebrate. The parish priest Fr Chen Jian Hua was celebrating ten years of his priesthood. We arrived amidst the sound of drums and other musical instruments. It seemed as if the whole parish had gathered there. It would certainly be difficult not to find this parish so outstanding – the mobilisation of young and old alike to come and rejoice with us in the Lord. There was the unusual statue of our Lady of Mongolia standing tall amidst flowers in a carefully planned area. The children were there with their smiles and giggles, amazed to see visitors of the same race as them. There was also the little room where church treasures such as old chasubles, albs, chalices and crucifixes had been preserved for future generations. It certainly was a loud statement in appreciation of what  the CICM missionaries had done for this area. . . Enjoy!

Baotou – Church of the Immaculate Conception

What was interesting to me at this place was meeting a priest Fr Yang (in white tee shirt) who had made a thirty day retreat with the Jesuits in Singapore. What a joy it was for the priest when he saw us. . . Praise God! This is the Church of the Immaculate Conception. On 29 June 2012, the Feast of St Peter and St Paul, we went to three different churches, this being the first. Praise God!