The Story of Jesus Caritas Church’s Parish Priest

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Fr Simon Lau

In an unexpected twist of fate, Father Simon Lau reflects on a vocation that unfolded in ways he could never have foreseen. Born into a non-Catholic family, Fr Simon navigated a path from pursuing a degree in Fine Arts to ultimately answering God’s call to become a Catholic priest.

A Non-Catholic Background:

Fr Simon in his early days came from a Buddist background, spending his formative years in Penang before pursuing further studies in KL. Despite initial disinterest in academics, he obtained a degree in Fine Arts with aspirations of becoming a renowned artist upon graduation in 1995.

A Life Full of Art:

The pursuit of a career in fine arts posed greater challenges than he had anticipated. However, divine intervention through his community of friends introduced him to the Catholic faith. Attending church and participating in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) marked the beginning of his spiritual journey.

A Calling from God:

A transformative moment occurred during a morning Mass at Good Shepherd Church, Setapak when Fr Simon witnessed an elderly priest, Rev Fr Antoine Henriot M.E.P, celebrating the Eucharist. This encounter stirred a deep questioning within him, leading him to inquire if God was calling him to become a priest.

Struggles and Sacrifices:

Discerning the vocation was a challenging process. Fr Simon grappled with the prospect of letting go of various aspects of his life, including cherished hobbies, an active lifestyle, and a budding career as a fine artist. The struggle to reconcile these aspects with a life in the seminary presented a significant challenge.

Trusting in God's Plan:

Despite these struggles, the call to the priesthood persisted. Trusting in God’s plan, Fr Simon had to let go of his pride, transition from a business man to a seminarian, and embrace a life of simplicity within a diverse community in the seminary. Contrary to initial fears of losing everything, God transformed Fr Simon’s life. Instead of forsaking his interests, God repurposed them to serve Him and lead others to Him. The journey also led to a broader family, including seminary brothers, brother priests and parishioners from across the country.

A Rewarding Career:

Contrary to expectations, answering God’s call did not mean sacrificing everything. Instead, Fr Simon found a more fulfilling career – the opportunity to save souls as a priest, which brought profound meaning to his life.

Answering God's Call:

It took a decade for Fr Simon to answer God’s call and another ten years of formation in the seminary. The journey was challenging but undeniably worth it. As he reflects on his experience, Fr Simon encourages everyone especially the young to listen for God’s call in their own lives and, more importantly, to respond to it with courage.

A Faithful God:

Fr Simon’s pilgrimage to Jerusalem many years ago holds a special memory. He had the privilege of baptizing his mother in the River Jordan, a moment that affirmed God’s faithfulness to those who trust in Him.

Letting Jesus Get Into Your Boat:

Recalling the biblical scene where Jesus entered Simon’s boat, urging him to cast his nets into the deep, Fr Simon invites us to consider allowing Jesus into our own boats.
Are we willing to venture into the deep, even if it seems daunting? Jesus promises that by trusting Him and following His call, they become fishers of men.

This article is based on: My Vocation Story by Fr Simon Lau (Republished in 2021)