God is Calling You Now

Deacon Dominic 01As a young boy growing up in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Dominic Tan Chung Yong, 41, didn’t realise that God was calling him to join the priesthood until one day when he was an altar boy on duty at the Church of the Assumption. He was waiting in the sacristy for his parish priest to arrive to celebrate Mass. However a priest from a neighbouring parish turned up instead as Dominic’s parish priest was unwell.

The priest said that there’s a shortage of priest and remarked, “We’re waiting for young people like you to become a priest.”

When Dominic replied that he’ll only consider becoming a priest when God calls, the priest told him, “Dominic, God is calling you now.” That remark planted the seed of vocation in him and Dominic was only 15 years old.

“I didn’t realise it was God’s call at that time. I guess when I was studying for my Masters Degree that I realise God was actually calling me. Just like the story of Samuel, he didn’t know it was God calling him until Eli pointed it out,” says Dominic.

Deacon Dominic 02“So I went to look for a spiritual director. It so happened that my Assistant Parish Priest at that time, Fr Simon Labrooy was also the Vocation Director. He told me to look for someone to accompany me on my journey to the priesthood.”

It took Dominic approximately 8 -9 years of discernment before making the leap to join the seminary. During this period, Dominic studied for a Masters Degree in Information Science from University Malaya and a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science from Universiti Sains Malaysia. He also worked as a lecturer in Mathematics and Science at Stamford College and Stella Maris Pudu.

Life in the seminary was relatively challenging for Dominic especially after spending a considerable number of years living a regular working life.

Deacon Dominic 03“After working as a teacher and having to go back to studying, I had to go through a period of adjustment at the seminary,” he says.

“The lecturers challenged me to do certain things and this gave me courage to do what is asked of me. Life in the seminary was difficult but fruitful at the same time,” says Dominic whose favourite subjects were Philosophy and Scripture.

Seminarians first join College General in Penang for their Initiation Year and two years of Philosophy after which they will transfer to St Peter’s College in Kuching for four years of Theology.

The diversity of cultures at the seminary was an eye opener for Dominic, especially after meeting seminarians from other dioceses including Sabah and Sarawak.

Deacon Dominic 04“On one hand it was a culture shock for me and on the other it was an eye opener to see the beauty of the Church’s diversity,” he says.

Dominic likes reading a broad spectrum of science fiction books. He particularly enjoys reading the spiritual writings of St John of the Cross, St Teresa of Avila, St John M. Vianney and St Augustine. He also plays the organ and guitar and listens to Christian music.