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Ditching the Desk

Ditching the desk

Living life as a Missionary

By Columban Fr. Kurt Zion Pala

Now that I'm home, I realized I do not have a room to call my own. My room is the bag I carry on my back every time I move from one mission to another. Right after high school I left home to pursue a childhood dream– to become a priest.

I joined the college program of the Columbans in Cebu, but after a few years decided to leave the seminary and work. Cebu became my adoptive home for a long time. It was where I completed my degree, worked as a teacher and then in the government, pursued graduate studies and found out that there is more to that.

For about five years, I sat before a desktop computer most of the time making reports and presentations, and on my lucky days I would be out in the field. I am grateful for the experience and lessons I learned working with them. I have no complaints because I loved my work. But eventually I was looking for more – a way of life I've always dreamt of since I was a young boy. So I decided to ditch my desk and leave a promising career in government service for a much more simple life that of a missionary.

Ever since I left my job, I've found life to be more meaningful and joyful. There would be days of heartaches and challenges, but it makes the journey a bit more like an adventure.

My journey has brought my feet to lands I have never thought I would one day set my feet on – the islands of Fiji, and hopefully Myanmar soon! But to be welcomed into the hearts of people I meet every day is the greatest privilege we priests are blessed with. And so every opportunity, every encounter I have with them I try to be as welcoming and compassionate as Jesus has been with me. I especially cherish working with young people. They can teach us a lot.

After spending a year in Malate Parish Church, working in various ministries of the parish, I am now involved with Vocation and Mission Promotion which includes helping young people discern about their vocation in life and planting the seed of mission in them.

If you know a young person thinking about ditching the desk or taking on the adventure of becoming a Columban missionary be it as a priest, Sister or lay missionary, please pray for him or her and tell them about us.

Are you up to ditching that desk? Yes, you. Pope Francis challenges you, "Ask Jesus what he wants from you and be brave."

Columban Fr. Kurt Zion Pala lives and works in Myanmar (formerly Burma).