CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Called to serve in gratitude

HONG KONG (SE): Diocesan seminarian, Timothy Yan Ho-fung, who is to be ordained to the diaconate at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, Caine Road, on October 27, was full of gratitude for God’s guidance in leading him to become his servant.
Reverend Yan was born in Hong Kong in 1982 and was baptised at St. Stephen’s Church, Kwai Chung. He joined the Sunday school of the St. Joseph’s Church, Kowloon Bay, and received confirmation at the parish. When his family moved to Tin Shui Wai in 1996, he became an altar server and a member of the youth group as well as the parish council at St. Jerome’s Church.
A significant event in his vocational journey was the 2005 World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany. He felt the desire to be a priest, but continued with his studies at the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education. After graduating in 2006, he worked in the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department. 
In the same year, he contacted the Holy Spirit Seminary and sought help in discerning his vocation and went on to enter the seminary in 2008. 
Reverend Yan went to Canada for a six-month English programme in 2014. Then, having finished his theological training in 2016, he received hospital pastoral care training and later served at the Catholic pastoral care units in hospitals. 
Meanwhile, he was also involved in pastoral work at Ma On Shan Caritas Secondary School and also at St. Francis parish which organised a prayer gathering to support and pray for the deacon-to-be on October 25. 
In an article published by the Kung Kao Po on October 21, Reverend Yan recalled that as a two-month-old newborn he fell seriously ill and was in critical condition. While the doctor was losing hope, his mother, who was not yet a Catholic, asked the Blessed Virgin Mary to save his life when she passed by a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes inside the hospital. Subsequently, the doctor-in-charge decided to try a new treatment and he gradually recovered. 
He was baptised soon after he was discharged and his mother later joined an adult catechism class. He said he was also happy to receive hospital pastoral training at the same hospital, thinking it was God’s plan to help him recall his trial as an infant so that he would better empathise with the patients and bring them the comfort and hope granted by God.
Reverend Yan said he was affected by the secular values as he grew up and was in pursuit of wealth, power and status like many others until he took part in the World Youth Day in 2005, the year when Pope Saint John Paul II passed away. He said he was deeply touched by the World Youth Day programme in which the life of Pope John Paul II was reviewed. 
What lingers in his mind is the saying of St. John Paul that “the value of life does not lie in what one possesses, but what they did out of love and only love can stand the test of time.”
Reverend Yan became more aware of God’s presence which gradually changed his outlook on life. He had a longing for the priesthood which started with a desire to celebrate the Eucharist.
Looking back, he expressed gratitude to God for his divine plan, which has led to an enriched life. He desires that his life be a testament to God’s love.

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