THE THREE PARISHES THAT I ONCE SERVED
I AM ALL CHARGED
"Colours of day You bring into my life!" That's how I would describe God's gift to me of the beautiful parish of St Paul the Hermit in Batang Berjuntai! It has been some time since I've been assigned to a parish as I have been commissioned to the seminary for the greater part of my 18 years as a priest. Having been accustomed to the seminary where each day is preplanned I've come to parish ministry which is so much different. The scheduled and routine life of the seminary has been replaced with spontaneity and colour of the parish. Gone are my days where I could anticipate what I would be doing weeks if not months ahead. Gone are the days engaging the seminarians and being engrossed in books and spending hours in front of the computer preparing my lectures. Gone too are my days of textbook teaching.
Although philosophy has been my specialization, the last few months in the parish have been a grace filled experience for me. Here I have come face-to-face with realities I only once thought about and reflected upon. One such profound encounter has been with the wonder of each human person. Each of my parishioners has an own personal story as he or she grapples with his or her dreams, hopes and challenges of life. Another has been the struggle to live out personal and communal mission. Still another is the evils of pain and sufferings for which all my attempts at philosophical answers sometimes come to naught.
Although initially I had wanted to undertake some studies for my sabbatical I am so fortunate to have been posted back to the parish in this special Jubilee Year for Priests. I had said at my farewell at the seminary that I am all charged to take up my new mission. Now I see this is really unfolding daily in my amazing parish as I minister among the children, youth, university students, migrants, adults and the aged. I'm no St John Marie Vianney but akin to Ars my little but beautiful parish has its own bundle of challenges but I am grateful to God for this new mission that God has entrusted to me. Truly, our God is good all the time!
Rev Fr Edwin Paul
Parish Priest, Church of St Paul the Hermit