Two recently ordained deacons say they look forward to serving people and growing in holiness.
Friars Claurence Motoyou, OFM and David Au, OFM were ordained deacons at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Dec 5.
The diaconate period marks a step closer towards priestly ordination for them.
Friar Claurence, 46, who comes from a family of six children and completed his seminary studies at the St Francis Xavier Major Seminary, Singapore, said his ordination theme was, Vine and Branches. Friar Claurence said, “Christ calls everyone and His call is for us to be rooted in Him, the true Master.”
Friar David, 44, comes from a family of three children and he is the youngest. He too completed his seminary studies at the St Francis Major Seminary, Singapore.
Friar David too, chose his ordination theme as Vine and Branches, adding that “My entire vocation and, indeed, my Christian life depends on me surrendering more and more to Christ, so that He may continue to mould me into the person He wants me to be. I draw life from Christ, the True Vine.”
After his ordination, Friar David said he felt humbled and unworthy, yet very graced by God, to spread the Good News.
He said, “He makes use of me in my inadequacies and calls me to lean on Him every day.”
Friar Claurence said, “It is only by God’s grace that all things are possible. I know that I am far from perfect.”
Some 700 people packed the Cathedral for the ceremony, presided over by Bishop Bernard Paul. Concelebrating were Msgr Peter Ng, VG and Michael Mannayagam, VG, Fr Christopher Lee, Chancellor and Friar John Wong, OFM, Custos of St Anthony for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. Some 25 priests were also present.
In his homily, Bishop Bernard said the Scriptures indicate who deacons are. The Book of Numbers refers to them as the Levites assigned to assist priests and serve the community.
St Paul mentions the kind of character deacons must have, what their role is and their qualities.
“A deacon has to read, meditate and even break the word. He also assists the priest in the celebration of the Eucharist in the preparation of the altar,” he said.
He said deacons also minister to the families.
“They are to be a good reflection of God’s servants serving only one Master,” he added.
The ordination rite saw Bishop Bernard laying hands on the two, investing them with the stole and dalmatic (an outer liturgical vestment) and presenting them with the Book of Gospels.
“My formation in the seminary has certainly equipped me to serve the people,” said Deacon Claurence. “However, formation is an on-going life long process and I continue to grow.”
Deacon Claurence has been serving at the Sacred Heart Cathedral since Easter this year. Prior to that he was attached to St Theresa’s Church, Masai.
Meanwhile, Deacon David said he got to know the friars during his university days and had the notion that he wanted to serve God beyond the parish boundaries, hence a religious vocation seemed a good fit.
Deacon David, who is currently serving at St Anne’s Church, Kota Padawan, Kuching, said he drew inspiration from St Francis who led a very radical life of intimate friendship with God, denouncing his wealth and status. He said, “I reconnected with the Franciscans and attended a retreat with them,” adding that after much discernment, he began his journey as a postulant at the age of 37.
Deacon David looks forward to gaining more actual pastoral experience in his diaconate posting, while Deacon Claurence will continue at the Sacred Heart Cathedral.
Deacon Claurence said he realised his call after he joined the Franciscan Sisters of Immaculate Conception (FSIC), Sabah, and the Secular Franciscan Order (OFS) in their activities, especially in their monthly mission outreach programmes to share the love of God.
He explained that under the spiritual guidance of Sr Frances Mani, FSIC, he gradually realised his call to a religious vocation.
When asked about his vocation story, Deacon David said he was attracted to prayer in his late teens and spoke to his spiritual director about his priestly vocation.
Deacon David said, “He asked me to discern further because I was deemed too young, hence I returned to Malaysia after graduating as a mechanical engineer and later worked for ten years in Kuching, and then in Miri.”
He went on to say that he was very much inspired by the community as they were very spirit-led and serious about their faith, adding that “this rekindled my interest in pursuing a religious vocation.”
Both deacons thanked the Bishop, their spiritual directors, formators, Franciscan Brothers, and the clergy of the diocese for their support, advice, guidance and encouragement throughout their formation process to become servants in Christ’s vineyard — sharing in Christ’s mission and grace in a special way.
They also expressed their gratitude to their families for their encouragement, love and sacrifice in seeing them embark on the Lord’s call, first as friars, and now as his deacons.
Article reproduced from Catholic Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu