The Ordination to the Diaconate of Galbert Albino will take place on 25 November, 2017 at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, Greystanes.
Galbert spoke to Catholic Outlook about his upcoming ordination, reflecting on his life, the positive influence of his family and why his vocation story is similar to that of the prodigal son.
Catholic Outlook: Why did you decide to become a priest?
Galbert Albino: It was not really an easy decision for me to take at that time when I was discerning to return to the seminary (Seminary of the Holy Spirit, Harris Park). I had a tremendous life while I was away in the seminary. I was working in a call centre company, enjoying taking calls from overseas customers and was even able to put up my small t-shirt printing business. At that time when my small business started to be known, I came across an article titled “Design Matters” from the entrepreneur magazine I bought monthly.
It told the story on how business companies became known through their company logos. Then, a thought struck me that God has designed a beautiful life for us and it is up to us whether to follow that pattern or make up our own. I was reminded by the word of God from the prophet Jeremiah saying that God knows us before we were formed in the womb of our mothers.
And I reconsidered to reflect again my vocation, how God had called me to be His servant, to be His worker in His vineyard. What I was realised when I was outside the seminary was that, I still fell in love with God and my vocation. From then on, I said to myself that this time I will offer myself wholeheartedly to Him by giving my life in the service of the Church.
CO: How do you feel?
GA: Honestly, I feel a little bit nervous and excited at the same time. I feel nervous because I know that it is not going to be easy to be the minister of God in today’s society. I know that this time is the most challenging time of the Church because of what happened in the past. I have acknowledged that there will be more trials that I am going to encounter along the way.
However, I am not afraid to face whatever comes along my way. I rely upon the goodness of God that He will guide me all throughout as I venture this call. Yes, I am excited because God has chosen me to be a humble servant in His vineyard. Though I feel unworthy to be called on this path to priesthood, but I know that God has a great reason for all of this. For He knows the desire of my heart that I want to follow Him.
CO: What role does God play in your life?
GA: My vocation story was like the Prodigal Son. I left the seminary for more than three years and had a tremendous life outside. However, God, like a good father, made me realise that the world that I was living did not give me much satisfaction and I felt that it was only Him who can complete the longings of my heart. He is a compassionate father to me and embraces me back when I seemed to be lost. He never abandons me whenever I need Him and who says to me every time I falter; “It’s alright, son. Get up! I will carry you to walk with you. So, don’t be afraid!”.
CO: Are there any saints you have a devotion to?
GA: I have a few saints that I admire the most. One of them is St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina who had a great devotion to the Holy Eucharist. His strong determination to live a holy life made him a great saint despite the many obstacles and trials he encountered along the way.
St. Ignatius of Loyola is another saint that I have a devotion to. It happened that I came to know him since I was a young boy. It is because St. Ignatius is the patron saint of my hometown back in the Philippines. I also finished my high school in St. Ignatius Loyola Academy.
Aside from that, his life was full of extraordinary conversion. From being a brave soldier to a great preacher to non-believers. Ignatius offered himself in the life of service to the church as well “Ad maiorem Dei gloriam.” For the greater glory of God is his reason, why he gave up his life for the sake of others.
CO: What do your family think of your ordination to the diaconate?
GA: When I told my mother and siblings back home, they were all happy.
I must admit that before I joined the seminary, most of my siblings opposed with decision especially my father. My father was adamant to come with my mother to visit me in the seminary during my early years in my formation. Eventually, my dad accepted it and began to encourage me to follow what God wills for me. With my coming ordination, I believe that my father is also happy with me even though he would not be able to celebrate it with me. Though he is long gone in heaven, I still remember his words to me before he died when he said; “don’t forget where you are coming from and always keep your feet on the ground.”
My mother, on the other hand, was also happy with me. She is my inspiration to continue this journey. She said to me one day before I entered the seminary, “just follow the desire of your heart and whatever makes you happy, I will always be there for you.”
My relatives were so glad as well when they learned about my coming ordination. They said that they were so proud of me because I am the first in the clan who pursued study for the priesthood.
CO: What message do you have to other young men discerning a vocation to the priesthood?
GA: Don’t be afraid! We always hear these words from the scriptures and even in the society. However, those young men who are also discerning a vocation to the priesthood, I would encourage them to take time to ponder about God’s chosen call. Don’t be ashamed to seek spiritual guidance from the religious priests, nuns or even to pious people. They would be ones helping you to pray for you discernment. Above all, trust in God and ask for His wisdom and understanding so that you will be enlightened whatever His call for you.
CO: Any other final thoughts?
GA: I thank the seminary community, my brother seminarians, for helping me to nurture my vocation. I thank also my rector, Father John Hogan, who never fails to teach us the good ways to the priesthood. The bishop of this Diocese of Parramatta, Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, for accepting me to continue my study for the priesthood and allowing me to be of service for the church here in his Diocese of Parramatta.
And I thank God, above everything.
For He is the reason why I said yes to this challenge. Jesus Christ is my great inspiration to take up this call with the guidance of the Holy Spirit who help me understand the many hardships that I have been through in this journey. This is not the final end of my formation in the seminary, rather, this is the real beginning in fulfilling those good things I have learned in the seminary.
Galbert Albino will be Ordained to the Diaconate on 25 November 2017.