Franciscan deacon feels call to serve poor, work for justice
Franciscan Friar Aiden Peter at his diaconal ordination Mass. Photo: VITA Images
“You are here not to be served, but to serve.”
This was the message Archbishop William Goh gave to Franciscan Friar Aiden Peter at his diaconal ordination Mass.
The Feb 3 ceremony at the Church of St Mary of the Angels marked the final stage of Deacon Aiden’s preparations for priestly ordination.
Archbishop Goh reminded the friar that as a “minister of the Gospel, he has to show himself “chaste and beyond reproach in his actions” and to bring the message of hope to those who need to hear the voice of God.
After the ceremony, Deacon Aiden, who grew up in Tawau, Sabah, said that although he “felt elated and on cloud nine”, he is always conscious that his real work is only just beginning.
In an interview with The Catholic News, the middle child of a Catholic family of five children shared that his involvement in church ministries at age 16 sparked his interest in devoting his life to church work. Nevertheless, he had no interest in becoming a priest then.
However, after he was elected as the President of the Catholic Students Association in Tawau, his faith evolved from a “Charismatic, evangelical faith ... to a faith grounded in theology and social teaching”.
He felt that he was called to “serve the poor and work for just social systems from a position of faith”.
However, becoming a priest or joining Religious life was “nowhere on my radar”.
In 2005, he had already started working with a commercial company as a warehouse and logistics officer but felt spiritually empty. He decided to confide in two Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception nuns and joined them in their ministries. This helped him greatly in his spiritual journey.
The final step for him came when he flew to Singapore in 2007 and lived and worked with the Franciscan Friars. The decisive moment came in 2009 when he realised that he wanted to be a friar more than anything else. He has never looked back since.
On how the Church can better promote the Religious life to young people, Deacon Aiden, 34, shared that consecrated men and women can do this more effectively if they constantly remember the joy of being loved by God and rekindle this by following Him.
The next step for Deacon Aiden will be his priestly ordination. The date and venue have not been fixed yet.
Franciscan Friar John-Paul Tan, in a short interview after the ceremony, said that the Archbishop’s address and the ordination ceremony served as a clear reminder to all, especially those who have been ordained for many years, that “the priesthood ministry is about service and those in the ministry are called to serve”.
Deacon Aiden’s family members were among those who attended the ordination ceremony.
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