Fr George prostrates before the altar during the Litany of the Saints

By Dorothy Kinajil OCDS

Sep 8 2022

SEREMBAN – Archbishop Julian Leow of Kuala Lumpur raised Deacon George Ho Chung Jen to the order of presbyters at the Church of the Visitation, Seremban on August 13.

It was witnessed by a church-filled congregation as well as an online congregation of Carmelites and friends from several parts of the world.

Present at the solemn ordination ceremony were 36 priests from around KL; the Provincial Delegate of the Discalced Carmelites from Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Taiwan; friars from Singapore, Thailand and KL; religious sisters from different congregations and the OCDS community from KL, Kuching, KK and Miri.

In his homily, Archbishop Julian addressed the candidate and stressed on the responsibility that he is about to undertake as a priest for the people “that you will truly carry the cross in your ministry”.

He reminded the neo-ordained that “We are not to be greater than the master.  We are to imitate him more and more in our lives.  And as Jesus was crucified, was persecuted, was misunderstood, we as his priest will follow in his footsteps. 

“And therefore, I ask you to treasure the mountain top experiences in your journey towards this day.  Your relationship with Jesus, the high moments, the intimate times that you have with the Lord and to keep these experiences foremost in your heart so that when you face many challenges, you will be strong in faith.

“And as a priest, you not only have to be concerned with your own faith, but that of the flock entrusted to you and in your own community,” urged the prelate.

Newly ordained Fr George Ho with Archbishop Julian Leow, Provincial Delegate Fr John Chua, clergy and friars and his family members

Friar George, 36, hails from Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Tawau, Sabah. It was there that he first expressed interest to join the priesthood. However, it was only in Selangor after completing his university studies and beginning employment that he began to discern more seriously.

He completed his ecclesiastical studies in Singapore and Rome. On November 20, 2021 he was ordained deacon by Archbishop Julian Leow in the Oratory of the Carmelite Monastery of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in Seremban.

He has chosen for his Sacerdotal Ordination theme “Feed my Sheep” (John 21:17), which was inspired by Bl Francis Palau, who had an experience similar to that of St Peter when he was asked the same request three times to “Feed my sheep”. However, instead of being asked to ‘feed the sheep’, he felt akin to enter into a marriage covenant with the Church.

Fr George combined the experiences of St Peter and Bl Francis Palau, as a reminder to himself that as a spouse of the Church, that on the day of his ordination, he marries the Church – the Bride of Christ. Therefore, he must do what a good husband and shepherd should do: To feed the bride, protect the bride and to love the bride.

Archbishop Julian thanked the Carmelite friars for helping out in the churches in Negeri Sembilan and also in the Archdiocese of KL. He reminded them, “Answer the call of our people who are hungering for quiet time with the Lord”.

He added, he hoped that the spirituality of the Carmelite permeates in the Archdiocese as with the other Orders too.

The Provincial Delegate of the Discalced Carmelites for the delegation of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Taiwan, Fr John Chua, on behalf of the Carmelite friars, thanked Archbishop Julian Leow for ordaining Fr George Ho and for his unwavering support and kind encouragement to the Carmelite Friars ever since they started their foundation in Seremban.

The Friars also thanked the parish priest of the Church of Visitation, Fr Xavier Andrew, for allowing them to use the parish church as the venue for the ordination.

Fr John Chua also thanked Florence, mother of Fr George Ho, for her selfless offering of her son to God.

Initially, Florence was reluctant to let her son go but Fr George asked if God were to heal his mother of a lump in her breast, he would dedicate his life to God and enter religious life.  When his prayer was answered, and he was affirmed in his calling.

Fr George Ho hands to his mother the cloth that has been used to wipe off the Chrism Oil on his palms

Eventually, his mother gave her blessing. She bought him a chasuble from Rome two years earlier, which he fittingly used for his ordination. After giving his first blessing to his family as a priest, he touchingly presented his mother with the cloth that has been used to wipe off the holy chrism on his palms.

The first Mass after his ordination was celebrated at the priory among his brother friars, OCDS members and his family.  The chasuble he used at his first Mass was gifted to him by the Carmelite nuns from Soria foundation in Spain.

After Mass, his superior presented him with the Certificate of Faculty to practise as a parish priest in the Archdiocese. He then proceeded to give his first anointing of the sick.

Fr George Ho will be celebrating his first Mass with the Carmelite nuns at Carmelite Monastery, KK on Sep 20.