The Ordination to the Priesthood of Deacon Jack Green, Deacon Jessie Balorio, Deacon Chris del Rosario and Deacon Galbert Albino will take place on 30 November 2018 at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta.
In this interview Deacon Jessie spoke to Catholic Outlook about his upcoming ordination.
Catholic Outlook: What comes to mind when thinking you will become a priest on 30 November?
Jessie Balorio: I am grateful to God for this blessing of having humbly walking with Him closely and to offer Mass with His chosen people. There is also a real sense, deep within, of overwhelming peace and joy.
Indeed, God’s grace works in mysterious ways that through my formators and the Bishop, God accepted my humble offering of myself to be a witness of His presence to the world. My faith journey has been blessed and now will be offered to God.
CO: How important will that day be for you, your family and friends?
JB: It will be the highlight of the many best times of my life shared with family and friends.
It is a day where preparation I undertook for so many years would be affirmed and whose trust and faith of those who are in charge of me would be repaid with a lifelong commitment to follow Christ more closely and to give a fuller expression to my baptismal consecration. It is, after all, a constant encounter with Christ in others.
CO: How has your parish placement been? What experiences have you had?
JB: In terms of priestly preparations, the parish priests that I lived with, did not fall short in providing me the necessary experience for priestly ministry in the future.
However, I realise that in parish ministry I should be opened to a new way speaking, of breathing, of being together, of knowing new things and of a whole new way of living. It is an every day pursuit of God’s presence and not running away from God’s love in which I am created, redeemed and hopefully made wholly.
My experiences with the Sacraments of Baptism, Proclaiming the Gospel and preaching of the day’s readings, serving at the funeral, marriage, giving Holy Communion and visiting parishioners at their home, giving few talks to different prayer groups are opportunities in encountering Christ with others – an opportunity of travelling with the parishioners in their faith, hope and love of Christ and His Church.
CO: What has been a highlight of parish placement?
JB: The highlight is living with different priests with their own personality, temperaments and with their own gifts. I am very blessed to live with priests that are very kind, deeply prayerful and whose teaching methods are efficient enough for me to realise that I have been taught dearly.
It is God’s little grace of inviting me to listen, be still and know that He is God.
CO: Why did you decide to become a priest?
JB: I will stand by the reason, I shared with you during my last interview that there is a sense of peace within that the world could not give, that peace could only be found by giving my whole self to the priesthood, to be a priest of our Lord.
Thus, this becomes a noble feeling; trusting in the whole process of making myself closer to the Lord; to take courage in allowing myself to be changed and to change the things I can, so that I maybe fully equipped for priestly ministry. More so, I found the grace to share the burden of the Church and the burden of Christ’s faithful by carrying His Cross because there is more to this life, more essential and more real.
To put it simply, I participated in the works of God through answering His call to serve selflessly and lovingly.
CO: What sort of support do you have around you that you can turn to when priestly duties might seem overwhelming?
JB: Hopefully, it will not come to a point where priestly duties seems overwhelming, however, if this will come, I am very confident that my friends will stand by my side as they always do as well as my family, my spiritual director and confessor.
CO: Can you describe seminary life?
JB: Seminary life for me is the best formative years of my life. My formation years in the seminary was quite lengthy, extended or I am overly stretched, whatever words you will describe it, but it is still the best years of my life.
It is in the seminary where I made strong connections with a lot of people. I forged real friendship and I deeply knew so well that patience is indeed a virtue.
CO: What was a highlight of seminary life?
JB: Probably, my definite decision to grow more fully with the Holy Spirit Seminary while bringing with me the formation years from a Religious Order. Father John Hogan’s formation structure and style has put my years of formation in its proper perspectives.
It was at the end of the propaedeutic year that all my formation years made sense and until now I still benefit from it.
CO: Is there one or two aspects of priestly life that you are looking forward to?
JB: I am looking forward to minister at the hospital and to anoint the sick and most importantly celebrating Mass for my youngest Brother Basil Gregory Balorio who passed away eight years ago.
CO: Where will your first Mass be? What do you think that will be like?
JB: The thanksgiving Mass will be at St Aidan’s Parish, Rooty Hill and on the following week, it will be at Sacred Heart Parish, Luddenham.
The Mass will mean a lot to me since I will be with parishioners that I value the most and who made me feel welcome and accepted in a way.
CO: Who would you like to thank for helping you get to this point?
JB: I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to my parents Ananias and Catalina Balorio and to my siblings with their partners, my nephews and nieces.
To the then Vocation Director Father Warren Edwards and Fr Peter William who made the decision to accept me in this Diocese and to Fr Chris de Souza, of course to Fr John Hogan and the formation team.
To the Filipino Chaplain and parish priest of Mary Immaculate Parish, Quakers Hill, Father Roberto “Ruben” Elago MSP.
To Father Henry Duuc at Seven Hills, to Fr Michael Belonio OSA, the Order of Hermits of St. Augustine (OSA) and the Augustinian Recollect Sisters, Doonside.
To the Mary’s Little Children Community, to the very kind, generous and pious priests Fr Alan Layt and Fr Giovanni Presiga and to itravel.
To the Clark family (Ate Susan and Larri), to the Cabilao family (Kuya Marlon and Ate Joanne), to the Alforque family (Nanay Mila and Tatay Merlin) and to Canete-Damole family (Ate Sarah and Kuya Jun).
To Sacred Heart Parish, Luddenham parishioners (Rose Guci, Doris and Janet) and the parish staff.
To St Aidan’s Rooty Hill parishioners and SAEYouth, to FilCos Northern Beaches, to the Ceniza family (Kuya Giovani and Ate Evangeline and Ate Lily) and to Sto Nino Devotees.
To RCIA Rooty Hill and to those that I forgot to mention, you know who you are. See you all.
CO: Any other final thoughts or comments you would like to share Catholic Outlook readers?
JB: Thank you once again for this opportunity to share part of my journey and to the avid readers, please give your support to the Catholic Outlook and be informed always.
God bless you all.
Deacon Jessie Balorio will be Ordained to the Priesthood on 30 November 2018.