The Ordination to the Diaconate of Jessie Balorio will take place on 12 May 2018 at Holy Family Church, Luddenham.
Jessie spoke to Catholic Outlook about his upcoming ordination, reflecting on his life, the positive influence of his family and his vocation story.
Catholic Outlook: Why did you decide to become a priest?
Jessie Balorio: Looking back 19 years ago (I was 16 years of age) since I made the decision to follow Christ more closely, I could still say: The attraction of living like a man-of-God sustains me. There is “peace within that the world could not give.”
There is a sense of nobility to give my whole life in witnessing the work of Christ to people; taking personal risk, yet hoping that I made the right decision; trusting in the whole process of making myself closer to the Lord and it takes a lot of courage to allow myself in the frontline against the world that hates the Church; people that are hurt and very much angry with the Church. I took the challenge and today I would like to carry that cross because there is more to this life – more essential, more real.
To put it simply, I participated to God’s calling to follow him sustained by the faith that moulded me through the faith of my grandmother and parents and the whole community. I think it is safe to be selfish that I owned the vocation that God provided.
CO: How do you feel?
JB: I felt a deep sense of gratitude and joy for the gift of vocation knowing that the Bishop recognised the gift of vocation that I am “working with” through out my formation year – 19 years now with 2 years of break.
CO: What role does God play in your life?
JB: I don’t really know how to answer this question and why. I grew up in a family and community with a strong faith and values that God is the centre of our life.
God has no role in our life because God is everything to us. I rely on the mercy, generosity, and the graces that God provides me. God’s grace is enough for me. Sorry if I come [across] as rude in this question, however, my Filipino culture or background finds this question strange. God and the Church is everything to me.
CO: Are there any saints you have a devotion to?
JB: I have few devotions and saints that serves as my mentors and intercessors. Saint Augustine and Saint Monica, Saint Nicholas of Tolentino, Saint Faustina, Saint Teresa of Calcutta, Pope Saint John Paul II, Saint Rita of Cascia, Saint Anthony of Padua, Saint Thomas of Villanova, Saint John Vianney, Saint Fulgentius and Saint Vincent Ferrer.
CO: What do your family think of your ordination to the diaconate?
JB: When I informed them that at last I will be ordained as Deacon and God willing a priest, their first reaction was really? Is it for real this time? This time, I think, I will consider it as their long awaited joyful anticipation and answered prayers. They are happy and welcomed the news with joyful expectation.
CO: What message do you have to other young men discerning a vocation to the priesthood?
JB: If your heart is restless and could not find rest in a world that offered so much, allow oneself to open your hearts to Jesus who gives rest to the weary – to allow Jesus to bring that peace and joy and let His presence reside within for in this moment, God makes present the direction of our life. Be blessed.
CO: Any other final thoughts?
JB: Thank you for this opportunity to share part of my story and journey of faith. Thank you for your service and your patience in sharing God’s creative work. This is what I could offer you and May God’s loving presence be always with us in Jesus’ name.
Jessie Balorio will be Ordained to the Diaconate on 12 May 2018.