INANAM – Inanam lad Deacon Leslie J Bingkasan was ordained priest for the Society of Jesus on 1 Sept 2017 at St Catherine’s Church here.
Some 500 people including the ordinand’s family members, relatives and friends turned up to witness the ordination.
Archbishop John Wong officiated the rite of ordination after the homily.
Among the 18 concelebrants were eight Jesuits: Father Christopher Soh, Jesuit Regonal Superior of Malaysia-Singapore, and his assistant, Father James Tan, Father Christopher Wee, Father Alvin Ho, Father Sebastian Koh, Father J Sudarminta, Father A Setyo Wibowo and Father Riyo Mursanto.
From Keningau Diocese were Msgr Gilbertus Engan and Father Charles Chiew. The rest were from KK Archdiocese: Father David Sham, Father Paul Lo, Father Wilfred Atin, Father Ambrose Atang, Father Rayner Bisius, Father Mattheus Luta, and Father Maxmillianno Hontor. Father Patrick Jerome represented St Peter’s College Kuching.
The latter is the first priest from Inanam Parish (1991) while Fr Hontor is the second (2014).
In his speech, the neo-ordained thanked all those who have journeyed with him in his formative journey and he mentioned some names from the parish who are now undergoing formation either in the diocesan priesthood or in the Society of Jesus.
Abp Wong, too, thanked everyone who has helped the new priest in his priestly journey and called on all to pray for him so that he can live up to his vocation and for all ordained ministers in the church to stay faithful in their calling as representatives of Christ in this modern age.
On the other hand, Fr Soh, in his message, said the powerful seed of God’s Word has fallen not only in the receptive soil of the newly ordained’s heart but also into that of his family into which he was born and raised, that of the friends with whom he grew and matured, and that of the church community in which his faith was fed and nourished.
After Mass, all adjourned to the parish hall for lunch and entertainment by various groups including the Bingkasan family.
Born on 27 Apr 1977, Fr Leslie is the eldest in a brood of four boys and one girl born to Joseph Bingkasan and Mary Sodikit of Kg Kionsom Inanam.
Educated at SRJK (C) Yick Nam Inanam (1984-1989), Tshung Tsin (1990-1995), and Institut Sinaran (1996-1998), the ordinand was taking a course in microbiology at the University Malaya (1996-2002) when he resigned and worked as a journalist at the Herald Catholic Weekly (2002-2004).
He entered the Society of Jesus in 2004 and took his first vows in 2006. After his theological studies at the Loyola School of Theology, Ateneo de Manila University, he was ordained deacon at the university church on 29 Oct 2016.
Prior to priestly ordination, he has a two-month pastoral in his home parish of Inanam, Manggatal and Telipok.
After ordination, he will serve at St Francis Xavier Petaling Jaya before going to Rome for licentiate studies in canon law.