The time has come to bid farewell to everyone, and truly, at this moment, I am filled with both gratitude and sadness. It has been a blessing for me to walk alongside you, to witness your faith, and to share in the joys and challenges of our journey together in the last 6 months. I left my home when I was 19 to come to New Zealand with many doubts and uncertainties, yet always with the firm belief that God would guide my path. Then I entered the New Zealand national seminary and spent the next five wonderful years with many like-minded brothers who all shared the same goal of striving to become saints. It was a great time of discernment, learning, prayer, and sports. I also had many heated debates with my brothers on topics ranging from “how to fit a cow into a fridge” to “the great mystery of the Trinity.” As a seminary, we were immersed in a world of “Faith and Reason,” of great thinkers like Saint Paul, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Plato, and Aristotle. It was a great time!
This year, I was blessed to have been sent to this parish of Waimakariri. I remember on the First of February when I first came here, I drove from Kaiapoi through Ohoka to Oxford then back to Rangiora; from Rangiora through Ashley River to Loburn then back to Woodend Beach. I truly fell in love with this place. Then I met and talked to many wonderful parishioners, and was introduced to many amazing groups including the youth group, the choir, the altar servers, the two schools, Kaiapoi and Oxford Church Committees, Saint Vincent De Paul, and many families in the parish; my love for the parish grew even more. I am truly grateful to everyone for your prayers, encouragement, and love; it has helped me immensely on my journey. Thank you to the Parish staff team and the SLT team for your guidance and patience. I felt honored and blessed to work with you because I learned so much from you. Thank you to Father John and Father Do; your faith, care, and unwavering support have been a constant source of inspiration and strength to me. May God’s grace and love be with you always, guiding you in your ministry.
May I borrow the words of Saint Paul to once again express my gratitude to the parish family: “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now” (Philippians 1:3-5). May God continue to bless this parish abundantly.