Our Lady’s Promise
Fr Francis was not active in church throughout his life. In fact, he stopped attending Catechism classes after receiving the Sacrament of Holy Communion. It was only at the age of 16, when he experienced a desire to be confirmed in the faith and thus began the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) journey.
While he was journeying in a youth ministry after Confirmation, he felt a stirring to join the priesthood.
He shares that because of the intensity of the ministry, it has not always been easy to embrace this call. He often finds himself pulled in many directions, having to meet the needs of many people. It can be difficult to balance the demands, while ensuring that he does not lose sight of taking care of his own well-being. Another key challenge that Fr Francis highlights, is when individuals misread the priests turning down requests as an evasion of duty on their part, when in actuality, that cannot be further from the truth.
However, he has come to terms with being misunderstood by others, no longer feeling the need to be quick to defend his position. He also shares that witnessing the transformation of lives through his ministry makes the sacrifices and hardships worthwhile. He now regards his calling as a gift – one enabling him to grow in holiness, and stretching his capacity to love.
Fr Francis also shares about his journey towards growing closer to Mother Mary. It was through praying the rosary, that he found himself growing in his affection for her. He began to see how she was truly playing a vital role in his faith, constantly interceding for him especially in times of trial and tiredness. “I feel that it is part of Our Lady’s promise to me, that she will see me through and take care of me,” he says.
I feel that it is part of Our Lady’s promise to me, that she will see me through and take care of me.
He identifies that it is impossible for the religious to reach out to the people on their own. It requires all hands on deck. In fact, Fr Francis believes that the laity are the driving force of the Church. Whether it is through prayer or other forms of sacrifice, the laity have a part to play in the mission field.
Most of all, he has come to realise that it is important for him to be true to who he is, even in his ministry. He has come to understand that in contrast to the things he say or do, it is his ability to be authentic, genuine, and fully present with someone, that would allow them to see God in him. And in so doing, God’s presence would manifest in their midst.