As a youth I was moved by St John Paul II’s words: “Jesus is present in the Eucharist to be met, loved, received and consoled.” I grew to love the Eucharist. Somehow, I felt there was an emptiness in me that could not be filled by obtaining a degree, or finding a good job. I was involved in many ministries in my parish, but this too was not enough. Finally, in my thirties, I started to seriously discern the vocation to the priesthood. I am very happy to have the opportunity to receive formation to the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Wellington.
Emilio is from the Philippines. He spent a year in the Catholic Parish of Wellington South, and started his seminary formation in February 2020.
My cousin was a religious priest and I still remember watching him giving the Eucharist during Sunday Mass. One day he spoke to me about his life as a priest, and how he experienced his vocation. Finally, he asked me – ‘would you like to become a priest?’ I said no, because I didn’t think I was intelligent or holy enough, and so I felt I was not worthy. But he assured me that no one is worthy, and suggested that I think about it…. Now I know that it is not because I am worthy that God calls me to priesthood, but because of His great love for me.
Kinh is from Vietnam. He arrived in Wellington in 2018 and started seminary formation in February 2019.
I’ve always had a desire to know more about God and to love Him more. I tried serving God in all sorts of ways – as a high school teacher, in youth groups, as lay pastoral leader – but I always felt there was something more… I had ignored the call for many years. Many people – priests, parishioners, family – have helped me in my discernment and encouraged me to give priesthood a go. I’m a Kiwi guy… I love rugby, I love cricket, going out with the boys and having a drink… but God calls average Kiwi guys, and He has called me to serve and to give His love to His people.
Matthew is from Te Ngakau Tapu Parish, Porirua. He started his seminary formation in February 2019.
We had an ordinary conversation, until something made her say to me “I don’t know, you probably will make something great out of your pharmacy career, but have you ever considered ‘The Vocation’?” It wasn’t until I attended a Chrism Mass in Wellington a few years later that the notion of priesthood felt tangible, when the priests of the Archdiocese renewed their vocational promises. Remembering the love I had received from my parish priest and parishioners, I felt a niggle to respond…
Alfred is from St Joseph’s Parish, Upper Hutt. He started his seminary formation in 2016 and is currently on pastoral placement in Our Lady of the Bays Parish, Tasman.
Photos by Brian Suhada Photography