Friar Gerard Victor reflects on his ministry in St Ann’s Parish
Stepping into the shoes of the Rector of St Ann Parish back in December 2007, was the greatest challenge in my life. Since my ordination in 1998, I was never fully involved in any parish work.
This was a new experience for me and I had to learn the ropes in a gradual manner, together with the help of my parish friars, catechists and staff.
Before I joined the Franciscan friars, I worked in the Singapore Armed Forces as a regular for ten years. After ten years, I felt called to serve the Lord and decided to pursue my calling. I joined the Franciscan friars in 1991 and was ordained in 1998.
After six years of serving in Singapore where I gave retreats, Spiritual Direction, formation to aspiring Franciscans and at other parishes – I decided to come and serve the people in Kuching.
My vision for the parish is to build up a vibrant and caring community especially in the nearby Tamans. In the meantime, there is a need to build more fraternal and dedicated communities for the future needs of the new St Ann’s Church.
So far, I have been meeting groups at the grass root level so as to understand their concerns and challenges faced. The process is slow, no doubt, but with patience, understanding and perseverance, we can eventually get there.
The other important thing is to understand the cultures of the people under the care of St Ann’s Parish especially the Bidayuh and Iban – so that there is better rapport and togetherness as one People, even though I am seen as a foreigner.
My dream for the Parish is that there will be a difference felt when people step into the Parish of St Ann, especially in the areas of warmth, welcoming and hospitality. As Christians, this mindset remains a challenging and visible sign of the hope and unity that we share on our faith journey.
In the meantime, there have been renovations around the Baruk of St Ann to improve the situation when people come to worship in the Baruk and to have meetings and activities in St Ann. My purpose is that people will find the environment conducive to pray and therefore enter into a meaningful encounter with the Lord.
Hopefully these steps and vision taken will help the people to understand their mission to work together for the greater glory of God and be a visible witness in today’s times.