How Fr Choong found his priestly vocation in Poland

3 08 2009

Fr Choong, new Malaysian priestIPOH: Finding his priestly vocation in Poland was something that Malaysian Fr Choong Chun Yean, never expected, but it quickly became his choice when he experienced the love of Christ through the people he mixed with.

Fr Choong, a former Buddhist, and now a Catholic priest, shared how the Lord found him and saved him thirteen years ago, when he was still studying in the United Kingdom.

A former student of Poi Lam and later Sam Tet in Sixth Form during the 1990s, Fr Choong spoke to parishioners after Mass at St Michael’s Church here before giving them his priestly blessing.

Fr Choong said that as a foreign student, he was at first intrigued, and later won over by the kindness and good works of the Polish community he mixed with. Their simplicity and modesty in lifestyle and their openness and generosity in helping others, especially foreigners, was something that Fr Choong admired and wanted to emulate.

He found friendship in their community and reflected how they were so different from others. “I found it was because of their qualities and virtues such as faithfulness to God, integrity, a welcoming spirit, friendliness, goodness in heart, enthusiasm and joy in daily work and patience. It manifested their deep communion with God and the Catholic Church,” he said.

He soon became a Catholic and joined the seminary in Poland, having picked up the Polish language, developing a fluency in it. Having been ordained recently on June 6, 2009, Fr Choong returned to Poland at the end of July, and will replace a priest who is on leave, whilst awaiting his nomination for a decree by mid- August. After that he will be sent to serve in a parish in the archdiocese of Lodz in Central Poland.

On what his most memorable occasion was, Fr Choong said it was when he met the late Pope John Paul II and was blessed by the Holy Father. “It was during a pilgrimage with the seminary to Rome in 2003. I will never forget how I met him and he gave me his blessing,” Fr Choong said.

The Mass at SMC was celebrated by parish priest Fr Michael Cheah, Fr Choong and Polish priest Fr Richard Zalewski, whom Fr Choong credited as being responsible for his vocation.

Here in Ipoh to experience some time with his family, Fr Choong visited his father and four siblings, who are still Buddhists.

His elder brother, Chun Cheong, was at St Michael’s Church to welcome him. Parishioners also congratulated him and wished him well on his stay in Malaysia and in his pastoral work.

Original article from The Herald, published 30 Jul 2009



2 responses

3 08 2009

“Preach the gospel. And if necessary, use words.” – St. Francis of Assisi


3 08 2009
Alexander Lee M.T.

what is a “nomination for a decree” ?


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