Pope Benedict XVI declared a “Year for Priests” beginning with the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on 19 June 2009, which concluded in Rome with an international gathering of priests with the Holy Father from 11-19 June. The main purpose of the Year for Priests is to encourage priests in their “striving for spiritual perfection on which, above all, the effectiveness of their ministry depends” and to highlight “the importance of the priest’s role and mission in the Church and in contemporary society” (Pope Benedict XVI).
As our priests reflect and renew their commitment to Christ and the Church in the Year for Priests, we the laity are also asked to support them through various ways, especially in prayers and to thank the Lord for the gift of priests. Bearing in mind that priests are also human like any one of us, they too need encouragement and affirmation as they give themselves to the service of God’s people and the Church.
Today’s Catholic received many love letters from the faithfuls to priests in the Archdiocese:
Dear Archbishop John Ha,
On behalf of my family I thank you for specially making an effort to focus on the family. You proved that by launching the 5 Year Pastoral Focus on the Family. Your compassion, words of wisdom, patience, encouragement, teaching and homilies have brought comfort and healing to many families and individuals. Personally I have learned a lot from you on discernment, patience and tolerance. I pray that the Almighty God will always grant you good health and strength all the days of your life to enable you to carry out His will. God bless! – Michael Junim
Fr Lawrence Chua,
You have a stern look and your voice sound serious. He who does not know you well will be afraid of you. But behind all these, you are a priest with a big heart; your concern for the well being of your sheep is always on your mind. Your love for God and the Mother of God is clearly imprinted on your face
Father, with a little smile on your face you will change the world and we have witnessed this look again when you celebrated the Pentecost Mass recently. May God bless you always!
– One of your sheep at BSC
Dear Fr Simon,
Thanks a million for what you have done for CHOICE. Without you we will not be what we are today. You were there when we needed you. You are our pillar of strength. CHOICE can never thank you enough for what you have done. – All CHOICEes, Kuching
Dear Fr Nick,
Words cannot express my heartfelt thanks and gratitude for your prayers and support for me when I was ill five years ago. You have been a pillar of strength for me through your counseling and three successive days of prayer sessions. Despite your hectic schedule, you found time to console and to pray. Your compassionate heart is a great source of encouragement. Father, I’m sure countless lives have been touched by your patience, love and kindness. Let me tell that you will always have a special place in the hearts of many. Thank you Father, truly you have made a difference! – Cindy Teo
Dear Fr Stephen Lim,
It’s always a joy to celebrate Mass in church with you. Know why? I’m not talking about the homily… that’s nothing new because everyone knew you’re the best. The truth is, your mass is never dull. You’re never burnt out or just going through the motions. You always say Mass with passion, with a smile on your face and a glow of goodness in your heart. That’s what is so different. It makes all of us feel welcome and good about ourselves. It also makes us smile in return and that lifts up our spirits and inspires us to serve with a smile too. Father, wherever you may be, our thoughts and prayers are with you.
– Jessie Chua
Dear Fr Joseph Chai,
Thank you for being there when I needed a friend. There was a point where I had no one to turn to spiritually and I was heartbroken to the core. During that toughest time, your words comforted me. You listened to me patiently and prayed for me throughout the years. I believe you are one of the few people besides my family who cared and believed in me. For that, I am constantly encouraged. I will pray for you like you have always prayed for me. Thank you for making me feel special in the eyes of the Lord.
– Taffy Jong
Dear Fr Adrian Kho,
I praise and thank the Almighty for having you as a good, gentle and caring friend. We have known each other since secondary school. Your gentle smile made me realize that we are to be humble to our neighbours. Even though there were times I may have offended you by my words or actions, I will always cherish the friendship that we used to have while we were in school. You may never know how grateful I am to have you as my best and close friend. I really praise the Lord for having you as a true and caring friend.
– Nicholas Goh
I’ve known Archbishop Emeritus Peter Chung for nearly 25 years. He has been a great shepherd; so kind, friendly, has a loving heart, patient and always smiling. I particularly like his powerful homilies, which touched my heart of stone during Mass.
Dear Emeritus, your example of witnessing to the Lord made an impact on me and I have a deep respect for you. May the Lord’s grace and blessings be yours all the rest of your life! – Irene Siaw
Dear Fr Terry,
Thank you for your insightful homilies. They really opened my eyes. They have inspired me to see that as long as I offer my desires, my ambitions, my hopes, and my dreams to him and do my best to love him and others in his name, it’s good enough. God is definitely powerful and merciful enough to mesh his will and my desires for my happiness and those around me. May you grow closer to God everyday in your faith and life, and may the Holy Spirit inspire you to inspire others in His name. Amen. – Thomas Xavier Tan
Dear Fr Vincent Chin,
Never would we thought that we’d receive as much support from you nor any other parish priest by having to bear with the sound of our practice sessions and gatherings that could probably be heard all the way to your house. You’re the best and we would like to continue to thank you again for everything you’ve always done for our church and all its people. – “The grateful little ones”
Dedicated To Dear Fr. Albert Jacobse
When Jesus celebrated His victory over sin and death,
He chose to send gifts to those he set free.
Of the many gifts, he chose to give us YOU.
Our God has sent you to this place,
to lead us in His ways.
No matter the hour; whatever the need,
You always go the extra mile,
ever ready to cheer,
and give a comforting hug.
I’m grateful to God that you’re here with us,
to teach us from His word,
and stand up for what is true and just.
I thank you for being a Priest,
for your guidance and your care,
But above all, I thank you Fr. Albert
for being a dear friend.
When life’s journey became too rough,
and I felt like quitting because life just isn’t fair…
Like a guardian angel, you came to my rescue,
You lifted me up on eagle’s wing,
and said ‘Girl, don’t you dare give up’.
Thank you for always being there.
– Nelly Chin
Dear Fr Stephen Lim,
God has healed me through your anointing prayers. My heart is most thankful for your prayers during my moments of pain and suffering. I thank the good Lord for having you as my Parish Priest, who is so gentle, kind and friendly. Though you’ve been transferred to another Parish, I still cherish your sermons which have touched and moulded me into who I am today; a transformed Catholic. Father, because of you, I now start to evangelize and share the good news of God’s love with my colleagues and friends, for the glory of our Heavenly Father. – Ursula Wong
Dear Fr Martin Wong,
The good Lord works in many mysterious ways and uses many individuals to be His powerful instruments. You are one of those faithful servants. You have helped to build His earthly Kingdom in the Sri Aman and Betong Divisions with full commitment and dedication. I pray the good Lord will always grant you good health and strength. – Michael Junim
Dear Archbishop Emeritus Peter Chung,
Each time I walk up to the college, I thank God for His works through you who have made a difference in the fruitful formation of Local Diocesan Priest and Bishop. – Anonymous
Dear Fr Terry Burke,
You are God sent and make me understand that God is indeed a loving God and not one with a whip in hand, ready to pounce on me with every wrong move I make. Your sermons are very down to earth and I look forward to hearing them. – Ann Wee
Fr Lawrence Chua:
There are so many fond memories of him. To sum it up, I see Christ on him e.g. he practises what he teaches. He is always ready to listen, compassionate, considerate, helpful, non judgemental, soft spoken and the list goes on. Forever greatful and touched. – Grace Lee Chui Ping
Dear Fr Jeppy,
Thank you for your pastorship and guidance. We thank God for His gift of you, being patient, kind, caring, thoughtful, generous, yet humble. We also appreciate your willingness to be used as God’s instrument in reaching out to others. Despite your busy schedule, you never fail to attend to parishioners in need. We pray that God will continue to bless you with wisdom, good health and spiritually. – CTG, Serian
Dear Fr Felix,
Thank you for journeying with us students, and for building us up in faith through the years. It affirms us much to have you as an inspiration in many ways. Our events for the students will not be possible without your positive criticisms and advices. Thank you or being there when we need you and for joining us during events when your presence was what we needed most. May God continue to bless you in your works of faith.– KYCS
Thank you Father for in your hands the Son of God becomes incarnate, thank you Father for when the words spoken, a morsel of bread becomes God, thank you Father for the crosses you carry that I might, that I might become a child of God.
Dedicated to all the priests who know me; and to my beloved Parish Priest, Gospa loves you! – Stella Sayang
Dear Fr Joseph Lee,
It is by God’s grace that you are a kind shepherd, whose heart is filled with compassion and love towards everyone, including animals. I look up to you as my role model. Thank you for your being a friend to me, especially when I am in difficulties. I am forever grateful to you. Please be assured that you are in my prayers always! – Irene Siaw
If you have words of encouragement and appreciation for priests, feel free to drop them in the comment box below.