Fr Herman Menjuan MHM

By Linda Edward

Nov 2 2020

NAIROBI, Kenya – On Oct 25, the Catholic faithful witnessed through live telecast via Youtube, the first Malaysian ordained as Mill Hill missionary at St Joseph’s Parish Shaury Moyo, Nairobi, Kenya.

Fr Herman Menjuan, 40, originally hailed from Kg Duvanson Putatan, was ordained by Auxiliary Bishop David Kamau of the Archdiocese of Nairobi. The auspicious day also saw Bishop Kamau ordaining six young Mill Hill Missionary seminarians to the diaconate office.

Fr Menjuan, born Apr 13, 1980 is the youngest child to father Menjuan Ahtong and mother Livian Ellon and has three older sisters and three older brothers.

Catholic Sabah speaks to the newly ordained about his priesthood journey.

 CS: Share with us how you were called to the priesthood.

Fr Menjuan: My call was a bit different. Back home in Kota Kinabalu, I went to the vocation seminar seven times, and on the seventh seminar, I finally decided to give a try to see if God called me to be his instrument.

I entered KK diocesan seminary on Feb 2008 as an aspirant for one year at the Catholic Archdiocesan Centre.  The year after, I entered the Initiation Year (IY). After a year in IY, I entered St Peter’s College (SPC) in Kuching and finished two-year Philosophy. Then I felt that God has another plan for me. After finishing Philosophy year, it seemed that my vocation was not that of a diocesan priest but to be a missionary. So I joined the Mill Hill Missionary.

CS: Why Mill Hill?

Fr Menjuan: I didn’t know what Mill Hill is before. When I was in the first year Philosophy, I had a chance to know the late Fr Terry Burke, one of the lecturers at SPC Kuching.

One day I gave him a haircut and had a chance to ask him about Mill Hill. He explained about who they are, and from there I thought about joining them. I asked Fr Terry if I could join, but he told me that I’m already in a diocesan seminary and he doesn’t want to cause a problem by taking me in.

I chose Mill Hill because of the motto “to love and to serve”. We cannot serve if we don’t love.

CS: Share with us about your years of studies in Mill Hill seminary, including pastoral works.

Fr Menjuan: I joined the Mill Hill in 2013 and was sent for basic formation at Iloilo, Philippines for one year. Then I was sent for pastoral works for two years at St Joseph and Mary Shaurimoyo, Nairobi, Kenya. After two years, I continued with Theology at Tangaza University College, Eastern Africa Kenya for four years. Through these years, I had been living with different people from whom I learnt so many beautiful things, such as different culture and people.

CS: What is the spirituality of the Mill Hill missionaries?

Fr Menjuan: To go out and to be followers of Christ, to have dialogues with people different from us. We proclaim the Kingdom of God in our daily lives, in the Word of God and in the Sacraments. That the Kingdom of God is present in all cultures, and is revealed in unique ways in the person of Jesus.

To create deep spiritual Christ-like communities everywhere and offering our own spiritually-rooted international fellowship as a sign that the Kingdom is present and operating in our world today.

To challenge society as a whole, through dialogue, to be transformed by the Holy Spirit along the path of the basic values of the Kingdom: justice and peace, forgiveness and reconciliation, global solidarity and respect for human rights.

CS: How do you find the culture in Kenya? Do you have to adjust yourselves to the culture?

Fr Menjuan: The culture in Kenya is beautiful. They have different ways to express it and it is very beautiful. I had to adapt but what is more important is to accept their culture. Only then you are able to enjoy it. I have served with Fr Fred Marmoleho, Filipino Mill hill priest, Fr Agustine, Italian Mill hill priest and Fr Francis Makuba, Kenyan Mill hill priest.

CS: What and where will be your assignment as a missionary priest?

Fr Menjuan: After two months from now, I will be going for my first appointment in Turda, Palawan in the Philippine to serve the local people. Mill Hill is not about serving in particular places; we are missionaries and will always be travelling to serve people who need us most.

CS: How do you feel as an ordained priest?

Fr Menjuan: I’m very happy that God has chosen me to become His instrument. But my happiness is not only for myself but also for others where I serve.

CS: What is your ordination motto?

Fr Menjuan: With love to God in the Eucharist, bringing people in fellowship and serve people with the heart of God through Mother Mary.

 CS: What does your family say about your ordination?

Fr Menjuan: They are really happy for me being ordained and really supported me. I thank my family although they cannot be here for my ordination because of the pandemic, But I’m happy that they can see me live telecast through the internet. It was sad (that they couldn’t be here) but happy at the same time.

CS: Any words for us, the faithful?

Fr Menjuan: I’m the handmaid of the lord. I was ordained to love and to serve and I’m a property of the faithful. My life is to serve the people As I pray for you, please pray for me too, so that I will become a good and humble priest to fulfil God’s work.

I’m not perfect, I’m just a human being. If I should go the wrong way, please lead me back to the right path.

Thank you for all the prayers, support and love, without which I would not be standing where I am now. I’m just an instrument of God – to gather people for His fellowship, which is the Eucharist, and to draw people to Him.