His is a “circumstantial vocation”, says newly-ordained Fr Jovita Ho.
He shared that he encountered circumstances in life that made him question if there was more to life than what he then was doing, or whether God was possibly calling him to the priesthood.
Fr Ho was ordained at the Church of Christ the King on Oct 15 by Archbishop William Goh. Archbishop Emeritus Nicholas Chia was also present to concelebrate the Mass with priests of the archdiocese.
There was no dramatic “St Paul experience” for him, said Fr Ho.
However, he had felt initial stirrings to the priesthood when he was an altar server in his teenage years. One experience of serving alone at a funeral Mass with an elderly priest at his former parish of Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour – where he had also served as a catechist, cantor and in the liturgical ministry – made an impression on him.
Fr Ho recollected that the priest had asked if he knew who the deceased was, and he replied that he did not. The priest then told him that it was a teenage girl who had committed suicide.
The priest said with tears in his eyes that “we as Church have failed to be there for the young girl”. It was Fr Ho’s first time seeing an old priest shed tears, and his words left an impression on the teenage boy and set him thinking.
Fr Ho, now 38, said he then wondered if he could do more than just be active in church, and that was when he began to feel a greater attraction to the Sacraments and Mass.
There were other developments as well.
When he signed on with the Singapore Armed Forces for six years, he remembered someone telling him that if God was calling him, He would still call him after six years.
He signed on because he had just bought a flat with his mum and the loan was for 25 years.
However, he remembered also praying that God would clear the obstacles preventing him from entering the seminary. And the Lord answered his prayers, said Fr Ho.
He told CatholicNews he felt both “surreal” and “a great sense of calm” about his ordination.
“And I suppose I attribute my calmness to the fact that in this long journey, somehow God and people have been signs of my affirmation,” he said.
He added that since his seminary days, he has lived out his vocation trusting in “Divine Providence”. To trust in Divine Providence means “where I’m told to go, I will go; where I am asked to assume responsibility, I will assume; when I’m told to let go, I will let go; and when I am told to leave a particular place, I will leave”.
From Divine Providence, flows “the idea of obedience and availability to what the Church asks of me”, Fr Ho said.
Apart from his duties as assistant priest at Church of the Holy Cross, Fr Ho has also been appointed chaplain to the National University of Singapore’s Catholic Students’ Society.
He says he hopes to get to know the life of the students there and to understand their needs.
By Darren Boon