God calls everyone in a different way, sometimes in a mysterious way but most of the time, in the ordinary moments of life. For me it was when I received my First Holy Communion and Confirmation. It was at an Ordination ceremony in Kerala where I come from. A young man was being ordained as a priest at the same Mass. After that, I couldn’t stop thinking about becoming a priest.
For me, the call to priesthood is an invitation to have a personal friendship with Jesus and to bring Jesus to the people I am called to serve. It is not because I am fit or worthy, but because of the love of Christ for me.
When I began my Seminary training there were many of us, but a lot of my fellow students eventually left and pursued other ways of life. Sometimes I wondered if I too should leave and study something different, get a job, get married and have an ordinary life. But when I reflected on my life, deep down in my heart the desire to be a priest was still there. I just knew I had to keep going.
Whichever path you follow, you have to be willing to take a risk in life. I always keep in mind the promise that God made in the book of Jeremiah in the Bible – that God knows what plans He has for us, and that His plans for us are good. Making the choice to stay on the journey to priesthood took some courage, but I have never regretted the decision to continue even when my friends left.
Being a priest gives me the opportunity to bring the love of Christ to the people I am called to serve. It gives me joy to know that I have been able to help someone who is sick, comfort someone who is dying, or offer guidance to a young person who is searching. When I pray for someone in the name of Christ, I know that it brings peace to people’s lives. This gives me the joy and energy to continue my ministry of the priesthood.
Fr Joy is currently serving as Assistant Priest at Te Awakairangi Parish, Lower Hutt. He is originally from India.