Barely two weeks after a new Jesuit priest was ordained in Singapore, the Malaysia-Singapore Jesuit Region marked another red letter day on September 1 as Leslie Joseph Bingkasan SJ was ordained priest in St Catherine’s Church, Inanam, Sabah, Malaysia.
Archbishop John Wong of Kota Kinabalu Diocese presided at the ordination Mass with 18 concelebrants, including eight Jesuits. Some 500 people, including Fr Bingkasan’s family, relatives and friends witnessed the occasion.
Archbishop Wong thanked everyone who helped Fr Bingkasan in his priestly journey and called on all to pray for the new priest so that he can live up to his vocation.
Likewise, Malaysia-Singapore Regional Superior Fr Christopher Soh SJ recognised the role of the people surrounding Fr Bingkasan in nurturing his faith. According to a story in the Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese website, Fr Soh said the powerful seed of God’s Word has fallen not only in the receptive soil of the newly ordained’s heart but also into that of his family into which he was born and raised, that of the friends with whom he grew and matured, and that of the church community in which his faith was fed and nourished.
The newly ordained priest gave thanks to all the people who have accompanied him throughout his formative journey and urged those present to pray for him and all those who are undergoing formation either in the diocesan priesthood or in the Society of Jesus. “Please pray for me. Pray for Archbishop, pray for the priests, religious and also the seminarians. We need your prayers so that we can be fruitful in our service and also to sustain us in our vocations,” he said.
The eldest of five siblings, Fr Bingkasan joined the Jesuits in 2004. Before entering the Society, he worked as a journalist at the Herald Catholic Weekly. He finished his theological studies at the Loyola School of Theology in Manila, Philippines and lived in Arrupe International Residence. While in the Philippines, he gave spiritual direction to teachers and staff of Xavier School, a Jesuit high school in Manila.
Prior to his priestly ordination, Fr Bingkasan spent two months doing pastoral ministry in his home parish of Inanam, and in Manggatal and Telipok in Sabah. He is currently preparing for studies in Canon Law at the Gregorian University in Rome.
Images courtesy of the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu Social Communications