It is already almost half-way of my fourth year as Pastor serving Our Lady of Fatima Parish Community. I have also completed 36 years of ministry as a priest in the diocese. Change is a constant in our lives: I am grateful for the regular ongoing help of retired archbishop of Kingston, Brendan O'Brien. Prior to his various episcopal appointments, he was a priest of Ottawa, so this is homecoming for him.
Since I am the only one shepherding this large parish community, I rely more on your collaboration as we strive to build up this faith community to be welcoming to all whom we encounter!
The Holy Spirit blesses us with unbaptized adults seeking to be Catholics and live as disciples of Christ. We endeavor to ask parishioners to mentor them into our Christian way of life!
Pope Francis, in his encyclical Evangelii Gaudium, sees the parish as a locus in our journey, a place of missionary outreach. He laments that “the call to review and renew our parishes has not yet sufficed to bring them nearer to people, to make them environments of loving communion and participation, and to make them completely mission-oriented” [EG 28]. It is every parishioner’s task, not just the hospitality ministers, to make the newcomers feel they belong when they enter our church.
We are not unconnected individuals who happen to worship God together, but it is Christ who calls us to gather as a worshiping assembly every Sunday so that we build a Christian community which is also our spiritual home. Let us be mindful of those who are looking for a new place of worship and recall how we feel when we enter our church for the first time. From welcoming to witnessing, our whole community is called by Christ with the mandate: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” [Matthew 25:35].
Brief history: I was asked by a few parishioners to share my faith journey:
I was born in Hong Kong, came to study electrical engineering at the University of Ottawa 45 years ago. Touched by the missionary spirit of the Salesians in Hong Kong, who planted a seed for my vocation to the priesthood even before I was baptized. After graduating as an engineer and a brief career in the field, I went to Ottawa’s St. Paul Seminary to discern about becoming a priest. After ordination in 1984 and three years in Resurrection parish, Archbishop Plourde gave me the opportunity to pursue post-graduated studies, first at St Paul's [licentiate] and then complete a doctorate of theology [Magna cum laude] at the Gregorian University in Rome. I had a teaching career as well as being pastor at various parishes in the diocese.