The seminary community was fortunate to host Father Nicholas Ho for dinner and fellowship on Valentine’s day. Back for a short time from America, the community was eager to know more about his life and how things were in Sacramento.
Employed in 1965 by the Ministry of Education, Father Nicholas Ho shared how his call to the priesthood was not as dramatic as Isiah’s experience of having a burning coal put on his lips by an angel (Isiah 6:5-8). Rather, it was through his four years of exposure to ministry life as a Legionary and with the lectors that God revealed the call to him. The pastoral heart of Father Abriel, the then Parish Priest of St Bernadette’s was also instrumental in nurturing his vocation; bringing the young Father Nicholas on home visits almost every night.
Receiving his father’s approval, Father Nicholas began his formation at the minor seminary for three years before another five at the major seminary. When doubts assailed him, as it does for all who undergo formation, Father Nicholas simply prayed and told God; “If You think I am on the wrong track, tell me through people.”
He was ordained a priest in 1979 and was posted to the parish of St Stephen’s and then to St Peter and Paul. Then, in obedience to the Bishop, he went to Rome to study liturgy from 1983 to 1986. Upon his return, he went on to be the Initiation Year Director and taught liturgy in the seminary for six years. Later, he went on become the parish priest of St Francis of Assisi from 1992-2002, while still commuting from Boon Lay to Punggol to teach.
A six months sabbatical leave to study at the Franciscan school of liturgy and the Jesuit school of theology in the University of Berkeley planted the seed of a vocation to serve the Church in America. And so, after renovating and expanding the church of St Francis of Assisi in 2002, Archbishop Nicholas Chia approved Father Nicholas’ desire to serve in the Church in America.
Father Nicholas also had some advice for seminarians and those who are in formation in the religious life. Sometimes we question our vocation, especially if there was nothing as miraculous as the calling of Isaiah. Don’t question your call but listen for the Inner voice of God. Do your best! God is in charge and He wants you.
We continue to pray for good health and a continued zeal for souls for Father Nicholas Ho as well as your prayers for us seminarians; that we too may be tireless pastors, persevering to do what the Lord has begun.