KUCHING – In a simple but meaningful ceremony, Leonard Yap was ordained deacon on 2 August at St Mark’s Church (Batu Kawa). The ordination Mass presided by Archbishop John Ha was well attended with full church attendance. Also present were Archbishop Emeritus Peter Chung, 21 priests and the parents of Deacon Leonard.
At the start of the ordination rite, Leonard was presented before the Archbishop for the election of the candidate. His acceptance by the Archbishop was met with a round of applause from the congregation gathered.
In the homily, the Archbishop outlined the role and duties of the deacon as a minister of the Word, the altar and charity. He exhorted Leonard to serve the people of God in love and joy and be a man of good reputation, filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom.
The Archbishop also reminded Leonard of his commitment to the celibate state and to show himself chaste and beyond reproach before God and others.
In the Promise of the Elect, Leonard declared before the people his intention to undertake the office of deacon. He also took the vows of celibacy and of obedience to the bishop. This was followed by the Litany of the Saints in which the whole congregation prayed for him invoking the saints.
Finally the Archbishop laid hands on Leonard followed by the prayer of ordination. The ordination rite concluded with the newly-ordained deacon being vested and handed the book of the Gospel.
The rest of the Mass then followed with the newly ordained deacon assisting the Archbishop. The thanksgiving after communion was in the form of a liturgical dance.
The Archbishop spoke before giving the final blessing. He described the ordination of Deacon Leonard as a moment of God’s grace. He explained that the Archdiocese had waited four years since the last ordination and that he was happy that the community in St Mark has a Priestly vocation after about ten years of existence.
The Archbishop thanked Deacon Leonard for saying yes to the Lord. He also thanked his parents for the gift of their precious son to the Church. He then announced that Deacon Leonard would be posted to the new Parish of the Holy Spirit in Lundu. He also announced Fr John Chong as the first parish priest of the new parish in Lundu.
The newly-ordained deacon gave a short speech in which he thanked Archbishop John Ha for ordaining him and Archbishop Emeritus for accepting and sending him to Taiwan for his seminary formation. He also thanked the community for their prayers and support and asked them to continue to pray for him.
Deacon Leonard Yap, 35, is from Batu Kawa in Kuching. He is the eldest of six children of Augustine Yap and Monica Chai. After completing his secondary education, he worked for a few years in Kuching before being sent to the Taiwan Catholic Regional Seminary in Taipei by the then Archbishop Peter Chung in 1999. He returned in 2006 after completing his formation and joined St Peter’s College to familiariase himself with the local pastoral situation and to improve his English Language skills. From the beginning of 2008 he was attached to St Joseph’s Cathedral for pastoral formation.
Fr Richard Ng