KENINGAU – Twenty six years ago, a seven-year-old boy watched in awe as a priest celebrated Mass at the small chapel in his village of Kampung Kovosion, in the interior Sook district.
The boy was particularly taken by the vestments of the priest and wondered whether one day he would follow the same vocation.
The answer has indeed been in the affirmative for seminarian David Richard Gasikol who is on his way to a priestly life after being ordained deacon.
His ordination by Bishop Cornelius Piong was held at a packed St Francis Xavier Cathedral here on 25 Feb 2018.
Among those present to witness the ordination was Father Bonaventure Unting who first encouraged David to consider the priesthood during a talk on priestly vocation at the Sook parish a decade ago.
Before the laying on of hands, Bishop Piong explained to the candidate about the functions of the office of a deacon, the meaning, and importance of celibacy to which David accepted.
The candidate also made a promise of obedience to the bishop.
Fr Bonaventure helped David with the vesting of the stole and dalmatic after the laying on of hands.
The newly ordained deacon then began assisting the bishop at the altar.
In his homily, Bishop Piong expressed his gratitude to God for calling on David to serve Him.
He reminded the newly ordained deacon that the vocation was only possible through God’s calling and ordination was a grace of God that must be lived and preserved.
Turning to a group of seminarians who were present to witness the ordination, Bishop Piong said he hoped the event would serve as an encouragement for them to continue on their vocational journey.
To parents attending the ordination, the prelate urged them to be sensitive to God’s calling of their children to take up priestly or religious life.
“Our church needs more people to serve the Lord,” said Bishop Piong whose Keningau diocese of 18,200 sq km covering seven Sabah districts encompassing Beaufort, Kuala Penyu, Membakut, Sipitang in the west coast as well as Tenom and Tambunan in the interior.
To those from the Holy Spirit Parish of Sook, the prelate said it would not be “too long” before the priestly ordination of Deacon David would be held there.
After the Mass, David said he entered the aspirancy at the Catholic Archdiocesan Centre in Penampang in 2010, and gave thanks to God for his calling.
He also expressed gratitude to his mother Norah Mohidou and his five siblings, as well as fellow seminarians for their support in his vocational journey.
After a year at the Initial Formation House in Kota Kinabalu in 2011, he went on for his philosophical and theological studies at St Peter’s College Kuching from 2012 to 2017.
Looking back at his vocational journey, he said the past eight years had been a time of learning and discernment.
His advice to youth who are considering a similar vocation, he said, “Think about God and reflect what is the meaning of your life and your very existence.”
“Do not be afraid to enter into this way of life,” said David. – Ruben Sario