In the past few weeks, I’ve started to post a challenge to us priests, religious and lay people who consecrate our lives to the service of God’s people.
This was a response to what has been going around among friends who are married #LoveYourSpouseChallenge. As a priest, I am starting a new challenge #LoveYourVocation. An open challenge but particularly for those of us who are priest, religious, brothers, and lay consecrated.
Post photos of your vocation journey (i.e. what do you love about being religious or priest?) into becoming a priest, religious, brothers and lay consecrated for seven days and tag two persons like you each day to keep the celebration of Love and the promotion of the vocation to the priesthood and consecrated life going on.
My journey did not begin the moment I was ordained. As a young boy I dreamed of becoming a priest, one day able to raise the Body and Blood of Christ at Mass. The shoes I wore during my ordination was the last pair of black shoes my father bought for me. I continue to wear those shoes today every time I celebrate the Holy Eucharist.
Vocations begin at home. Family is wherever the home is found. That is where I learned about my vocation.
Friendships. This is what we are also about – having support from friends who share the same vocation, the same joys and struggles.
Do you know where the islands of Fiji are? Adventures. Being a missionary – I am able to reach islands like the Fiji Islands – never have I thought in my wildest dreams I would be able to. The Good News is universal – Jesus message of love and mercy touches everyone. It is a never-ending adventure.
Joys and challenges. There are plenty of that. For instance working with young people. Being a priest has allowed me to listen to their stories. I will always consider it a great privilege and responsibility to help in the formation and healing of many young persons. It really saddens me that at their young age they have to face these situations but to see them grow and mature is also the greatest joy.
I thank you for allowing me to come into your lives. I thank you for allowing me to be a father, an older brother and a friend to you.
Celebrating the sacraments. The opportunity to celebrate the Eucharist, to be able to raise the Body and Blood of Christ, to be able to take part in the important moments of people’s lives like baptism, marriages, to visiting the sick and being with people in their moments of grace at the sacrament of reconciliation is the greatest gift I received as a priest. A gift that is to be a merciful presence of God to others and in turn experience God’s mercy working in me, too.
To witness my own sister and her husband’s marriage is even more amazing. Just a note, I will soon be an uncle, too.
Constant walking – my life since joining the Columbans has been a series of adventure perhaps one may call it a journey, a pilgrimage. We are according to St. Columban, “Pilgrims for Christ.” And in this journey it is important that once you step into another culture, another space, we learn to take off our shoes for we are treading on sacred grounds. Every person I encountered and will encounter is Christ.
In Hindi my friends would say, “Fir milengge jab ful khilate hain. We will see each other again when the flowers bloom.”
I am inviting you to join us Columban Missionaries in our pilgrimage to bring the Good News to every creature in different parts of the world.
Columban Fr. Kurt Zion Pala lives and works in Myanmar (formerly Burma).