– Fr James Chang Woo Ho BCM
As you know well I was ordained to a priest a few days ago. Today I’d like to talk about how I became a priest and what I feel like today.
First of all I’d like to thank God for everything he’s done for me. He led me to be a religious and a priest. He led me to live in my community (BMC – Clerical Congregation of the Blessed Korean Martyrs), and he led me to Macau as well.
Yes. I believe I became a priest because the Lord called me to be one even though I’m lacking ability in many ways.
I dreamed of becoming a priest when I was living in Hanoi, Vietnam. At that time I was worried about my future. I started praying rosary for the first time in my life for 100 days. I prayed because I wanted to decide my future. One day after I prayed for 100 days, my parish priest came to me and asked me to join a seminary. Actually I answered him “No!” at the first time. However, his suggestion remained in my mind. And I decided to join a seminary when I was 17 years old.
After I said “Yes” to my parish priest, everything went naturally. Afterwards, two priests from BMC visited to explore in Vietnam. And they met my parish priest. My parish priest had a good impression of the religious community so he introduced me the Congregation of the Blessed Korean Martyrs. And I agreed to join the congregation.
Actually I wanted to say more things about my vocation, but I cannot because I cannot translate all my words into English. Like this I’m not really talented at anything. But what I can say is God makes me worthy when I try to cooperate with God’s work. God makes me a useful man.
I chose the phrase for ordination “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name: you are mine” (Is 43:1). This phrase encourages me a lot. I’ve been staying in a religious community for 10 years. For the past 10 years there were lot of things which were hard to overcome. But I believed that God called me to be here.
Some people might say that I’m happy because I’m lucky, but I don’t agree with that I am lucky. I don’t believe there is a luck, but Providence. I went to Vietnam and met lot of benefactors, and joined the congregation. Every event in my life happened not because I’m lucky. I believe everything happened according to God’s plan.
I am a very poor person, but God has led me here. God called me as his servant. I will try to become a priest who can respond to God with prayer and always say “Yes” to God as I did for the first time.
(Fr James was ordained on 29 September 2018 by Most Rev Stephen Lee, Bishop of Macau.)