Fr Damien Lim was ordained in Rome.

Fr Damien Lim, the first Singaporean Opus Dei priest, was ordained on May 14 in Rome at the Basilica of St Eugene.

He is currently studying for his Doctorate in Philosophy in the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome. Fr Lim, who has been in Rome since 2006, will soon leave for pastoral practice in Spain.

Before joining the priesthood, he had been working for a French bank in Taipei. A convert, his decision to join the Catholic faith was largely due to his brother, Aloysius, who brought home Catholic reading material and was subsequently baptised, Fr Lim said in an interview on the Opus Dei website.

He says he remembers getting interested in the Catholic faith and in those days of his military service, spent time reading books on the faith of which one of the authors was the prelature’s founder St Josemaria Escriva.

He took catechism classes at an Opus Dei centre, was baptised and joined the Opus Dei as a numerary during his university days.

However, his decision led to an uneasy relationship with his parents who had difficulty understanding him as they were not Christians. However a month before his father passed away, both his parents were baptised as Catholics.

“I saw that as a gift from our Father God for the trial of uncertainty about my vocation that they went through,” he said.

When he was in Rome, the Prelate of Opus Dei asked him if he was ready to become a priest. After praying about it, he said yes.

In the interview, Fr Lim, 42, said that God “is very interested in our humdrum ordinary lives”.

While priests face challenges in today’s world, Fr Lim pointed to Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI as “eloquent” testimonies for the priesthood.

For himself, Fr Damien said that in order to overcome challenges, he would deepen his awareness “that the living God is a fatherly God”, “draw strength from the Eucharist”, better confess his sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and also draw strength from the prayers of the Church – the prayers the lay faithful offer up for priests.

Fr Lim said he has also been told to return to Singapore as soon as possible and receive instruction here.

By Darren Boon

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