When asked to join the Children of Today’s Choir in his home town of Bogo City, Cebu, Philippines, Macky Amores initially felt he didn’t belong.
But it was through the children’s choir that he received his first inkling of a vocational calling.
“I was very active [during] that time in the church and involved myself in the Mass at the parish of the Archdiocesan Shrine of Saint Vincent Ferrer in Bogo City, Cebu,” Macky told Catholic Outlook.
“I remember an hour and a half or more, I was already in the church waiting for the Mass to start and was very excited to sing.
“I loved seeing the priest in the white vestment, celebrating the liturgy of the Mass and walking the aisle at the start of the celebration. I imagined myself at the time wearing the white vestment. It seemed that when I saw them, I was lifted by the Holy Spirit and telling me to be part of them.”
Macky is one of the four first year seminarians at the Diocese of Parramatta’s Holy Spirit Seminary. Harris Park.
Macky, 31, was born and raised in the Philippines and is the eldest of three children in what he described as a devout Catholic family.
After serving in the children’s choir, where he “learnt to love singing and being involved in the parish activities, and at the same time, starting to love Jesus,” Macky joined the Youth of Today’s Choir and was a member of the Parish Youth Coordinating Council.
After high school, Macky completed studies in computer engineering at the University of San Jose – Recoletos in Cebu City, graduating in March 2010.
In 2011, whilst working as a teacher at St Louise de Marillac College of Bogo in Bogo, Macky attended a vocations jamboree. Little did he know that he would receive another push towards his vocation.
“It was during this time that I met Sr Lilibeth Cortes DC, a sister of the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul. We were just chatting about our experiences and other matters, and I came to the point that I am talking about my vocation and desire to become a priest.
“Sr Beth offered me the phone number of Fr Rock Joseph ‘Jay’ Enriquez, the vocation director of the Congregation of the Mission of St Vincent de Paul – Philippine Province at the time.
“In December, Fr Jay contacted me and asked me to join the Vocation Search, in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. During the search-in, I met my brothers that inspired me more to enter into seminary life. After the search-in, we were also invited by Fr Jay to participate and be part of the Vincentian Popular Mission in Negros Occidental. Everything follows according to the will of God. Now, I am answering the call of God and placed my service in the poor and do Vincentian works.”
Between 2012 and 2017, Macky would participate in several mission trips with the Vincentians across the Philippines.
“With the help of the missions, I experienced God’s presence in the faces of the people in the mission area. They showed me how to strengthen my faith in God. They made me realise that God is always leading me to His ministry, even if I sometimes disregard and reject his calling.
“After the mission in Negros [Occidental], I was sure and ready to say ‘yes’ to follow the ministry of Jesus.”
Inspired from his first mission trip, Macky aspired to enter the seminary, and spent a year in formation at the St Vincent Seminary in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. During this time, Macky experienced being a lector, a commentator, a minister and an altar server for the first time, as well as attending ordinations to the priesthood and diaconate, and practicing the Visita Iglesia, the vidsiting of seven churches, during Holy Week.
From May 2015 to April 2016, Macky began his novitiate formation with the Vincentian fathers and brothers. At the advice of his formators, Macky then took a one year guided regency, which he spent teaching mathematics and computer subjects at the St Martin de Porres Academy in Daan Bantayan.
Instead of returning to the seminary, Macky decided to continue to teach, and applied for a position at La Concordia College in Manila, where he stayed for two years.
During his time in Manila, Macky was again inspired to restart his vocational journey.
“One of my close friend priests recommended and suggested to send an application to the Diocese of Parramatta in Australia.
“At first, I didn’t consider his suggestion. I prayed and went to personal discernment for reconsideration, which took me half a year to decide.”
On 17 December 2018, Macky forwarded his application to join the priesthood to the Diocese of Parramatta and arrived in Australia in February 2020.
In describing his first few months in the seminary, Macky is enjoying seminary life and the camaraderie and social bonding between himself, his fellow seminarians, staff and formators.
Macky’s advice to men discerning their vocation is to ask the Holy Spirit for guidance and accompaniment.
“Priestly vocation needs years of proper personal and spiritual discernment. Pray hard and ask God’s Holy Spirit to guide and accompany you in your decision.
“God had a purpose as to why I didn’t answer His calling the first time, why I waited until I graduated from college. Of all the things and events that happened, questions asked and confusion experienced, I know God always has a reason and purpose for everything.
“Take time and let God’s providence work in your discernment and vocation process.
“Trust God because if you are called, He finds ways.”
To find out more about a vocation to priesthood in the Diocese of Parramatta, visithttps://parracatholic.org/vocations/, contact the Holy Spirit Seminary or Director of Priestly Vocations, Fr John Paul Escarlan – firstname.lastname@example.org