Fr Mariasoosai called to work in the vineyard of Malacca (III)
The new diocesan priest, 42, was baptised as a teen. After attending a Life in the Spirit seminar, he "tried to go to any course offered by the church”. Despite initial resistance, he decided to give himself to Christ. “[W]hy should I settle for something less than God’s love?” he said.
Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews/Herald Malaysia) – The Malaysian Church celebrated the ordination of three new priests: Fr Martinian Lee Hock Chuan (37), Fr Paul Sia Chau Kiang (62), and Fr Alexuchelvam Mariasoosai (42). Here is the last of their stories. For the first and second, click here and here.
Like in the parable of the workers in the vineyard (Mt 20,1-16), "I was one of those standing doing nothing” since “no one hired me,” said Fr Alexuchelvam Mariasoosai, 42, who was ordained on 6 November.
All that changed when he spoke with Mgr Paul Tan Chee Ing, bishop emeritus of Melaka-Johor. The prelate played a fundamental role in the vocational discernment of the new diocesan priest.
"Bishop Paul was like the landowner asking some people at 5 in the evening, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’ and my answer seemingly corresponded to what the workers said to the landowner, who replied, ‘You also go and work in the vineyard’. . .”
"I was only baptised when I was about 14 or 15,” Fr Alexuchelvam noted. “I did not get involved in the church until after an LSS (life in Spirit Seminar) just after Form 6”, i.e. at the age of 18.
Organised by the charismatic renewal movement in St Ignatius parish in Petaling Jaya (Selangor), the seminar marked a turning point in Fr Alexuchelvam’s journey of faith. From that moment on, “I tried to go to any course offered by the church," he said.
Friends started to think the young man, now 20, was destined for the priesthood, but Fr Alexuchelvam rejected that idea.
“I thought it was ridiculous. One priest challenged me and told me I was running away from my calling. I cried, honestly thinking that I had given my all to Christ and felt that my vocation was to take care of my parents.”
Despite initial resistance, after a few years he decided to give himself to Christ. Before Mgr Tan, Fr Simon Yong contributed decisively to the path of the new priest in Melaka-Johor.
“He believed in my vocation to the priesthood believing that I did have a vocation, when I had given up as there were too many obstacles.”
However, only after a talk with the bishop emeritus he left for Rome where he enrolled in the Pontifical Beda College.
“My personal theme,” he said, “is taken from Psalm 63:3 for your love is better than life.
“It is because what I have chased after all my life is love, knowingly and unknowingly, and God found me and showed me true love; so, why should I settle for something less than God’s love? My answer to life would be that God’s love is better . . . and so it is God’s love that I want and that’s what I want to share and give to others”.