CLERICAL CALLINGS IN THE STATES
I have attended an ordination, together with my wife, at the former congregation in the Philippines where I started my vocation -- that have ordained and gave a popular priest in the Phils, Fr. Agerico Orbos,SVD or Fr. Gerry to all. We were classmate together at the Collegiate Department of Christ the King Seminary and then eventually the Novitiate in Tagaytay. I then went further and entered the Diocesan seminary in Lucena City. My former bishop -- now a cardinal, and a member of the college of Cardinals to elect the Pope. I saw him when the good Pope John Paul II died. His face was the first one I saw on the front pages of so many newpapers doing pictorials on the death of the saintly Pope. He is now the present cardinal of the Diocese of Cebu, and I heard he wanted to retire.
The ceremony at the SVD provincialate in Techny, Illinois was simple and very culturally inspired and featured. One could see families in their native Vietnamese traditional dresses, the Chinese and of course the Barong Tagalog and Terno of our Kababayans.
The songs was rendered by the Vietnamese choir, singing in their native language. The offertory was done by women in traditional chinese silk dresses and of course our Pinoy outfit and Tie and Jacket for the Americans.
At the main altar, there were at least 10 candidates that will be ordained. Majority of the ordinandi are from Asia, one representing Poland. From this group comes three Pinoys, then Vietnamese and Chinese from Taiwan, and a Mexican. The entire church was crowded. Beautiful arrays of colored national costumes and the offerings was arrange in the traditional asian baskets, beautifully created.
My wife and I was seated besides two brothers from a French congregation from Africa. They still need two more years prior ordination.
Did I miss or got jealous to those who were ordained? No!
I have now my own vocation -- to be a father and a husband.
When the Litany of the Saints was chanted, and all are kneeling down and the those to be ordained are all lying face down, prostrated on the floor -- my mind went back when the church in the Philippines, especially the congregation that I have joined was run by the German fathers and Irish. Now as I look at the main altar where all the new candidates are prostrated and being offered to God, I have said to myself -- the faith of the asians have never been so altered, even with all the crisis and the hardships that all asian candidates have gone thru.
After the ordination and the religious ceremony, there was a reception. All of the guests mingled and shook hands to the newly ordained priest and hugs and kisses was given. One of the Pinoy newly ordained priests, knelt down and kissed his father's hands, who was in a wheel chair. It was a Kodak moment.
Today, I was watching a news report, showing the Catholic seminary in Sacramento, CA. is now predominantly Asian candidates for the priesthood. I had a small smile when I saw it. I said to myself -- God is truly Great to us!
Auntie Patti Koh -- can you blame me for being so proud, because I am a Filipino first, and Asian and then an American.