Fr James Chia (middle) with his family (Photo credit: Edward Olaybal)

By SMPSOCCOM@PI 

Nov 22 2023

TANJUNG ARU – Fr James Chia, a Tanjung Aru-local, ordained in Philadelphia on Nov 24, 2012, had recently took a two-week vacation back to visit his family and friends. During his visit from Oct 30-Nov 14, he had celebrated several Masses on Sundays and the weekends and had enjoyed the company of many familiar faces, which made his stay here even more memorable.

Prior to leaving for America, parishioners had organized a celebration at Stella Maris Parish for his 11th sacerdotal anniversary Nov 11.

Fr James, born and raised in Tanjung Aru, is currently a parochial vicar at St Rocco Church, Cleveland, Ohio, USA. He is blessed to be part of a supportive and welcoming community, including some of his childhood acquaintances he said. Rayner Pailus recalled meeting Fr James on an American college campus back in 1992. Despite facing constant financial struggles, Fr James persevered with his studies and was able to fulfill his priestly calling thanks to his unwavering faith and hardworking ethics.

At the celebration, Fr James expressed his gratitude for the unending support of his family, who had made sacrifices during his formative years and enabled him to fulfill God’s calling to become a priest. He shared how God has always provided for him, especially during his most challenging times. Fr James emphasized that the thanksgiving dinner is not about him but rather an opportunity to give thanks to God for His continued blessings.

Fr James also shared the weighty challenges and obstacles that come with being a priest. He acknowledged the challenges and reminded the faithful to support all priests because priest face difficulties ten times harder than laypeople. He also urged parishioners not to be critical of their priests, as everyone experiences ups and downs in life. Instead, he implored them to pray for all priests. He also advised parents to pray for their children and for children to answer their calling to priestly religious life. He hopes that more young people will choose to become priests, allowing them to connect with God, as he has been fortunate enough to experience.