By: Willy Teodoro, For the North Star
Good Shepherd Sunday last weekend was also the World Day of prayer for vocation. In celebration of that event, the Vocation Commission of the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa held its first “Meet the Priest” event last Friday, May 10, 2019. It aims to gather and educate young men to learn more about the life and ministry of the priest.
12 young men, encouraged by their respective pastors participated in a simple yet solemn vespers at the Blessed Sacrament Chapel led by Bishop Ryan and joined by some of the clergy of the diocese. Richard Balenes, Marc Mendiola and Rafael Ordoña attended from San Antonio Parish; Ariel Lapuz, Keon Apolonio and Miguel Quiambao came from San Jose Parish; Jalen Lucido, Angelo Bergancia and Angelo Manese came attended from Mt. Carmel Cathedral; Sabino Sanchez and Sam Santos from San Jude Parish and David Santos attended from Santa Soledad.
Afterwards, they were treated to a sumptuous dinner of chili, chips and salsa, pasta, buffalo wings and fresh lumpia at Mt. Carmel Rectory where they had a chance to talk with and mingled with Bishop Ryan and the clergy.
During the course of the dinner, Bishop Ryan shared with the youth his own vocation story, how he first heard the ‘call’ from the Lord and the journey that unfold in front of him until today as he finds himself called and chosen to be a ‘shepherd’ of the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa.
Fr. Anthony Aguason also spoke to the young men and briefly gave his experience of his vocation journey. Fr. Anthony is quite familiar with fostering vocation having served as a formator in the seminary in his home diocese in the Philippines shortly after ordination, a position he served faithfully for years.
The young men were also given the chance to ask about their faith and vocation the rest of the clergy present such as Fr. Ken Hezel, Fr. Harold Funa and Deacon Jeff Camacho.
Willy Teodoro, one of those who were assisting the Vocation Ministry in planning the event was quite amazed by the presence of these twelve young men. “It’s surprising, since the theme we developed for this activity was inspired from the Gospel of Matthew 4:19, which is the Call of the First Disciples. An then we had twelve attendees!.” Maybe it was a coincidence or fate. But what is certain is that God is calling.
Bishop expressed hope and optimism in the very first “Meet the Priest” of the diocese. “The hope is to plant a seed of vocation and who knows maybe one day, these Twelve will be true disciples (followers) and then become apostles (preachers) of Jesus.”
The next phase of the Vocation Ministry is to have follow up meetings for these youths and above all to encourage everyone to pray for them and for more vocations for our diocese.