Fr. Peter Choi
Before I was born, my great-grandmother told my mother to pray to St. Joseph that one of her sons would become a priest. So when she was pregnant with me she prayed to St. Joseph that I would become a priest. With my mother and grandmother as well as my great-grandmother praying for my vocation to the priesthood, the odds were in favour of my becoming a priest, despite my rebelliousness, protests, and stubbornness.
The first time I felt the call to the priesthood was when I was in grade two, during one of the First Communion Catechism classes. As one Benedictine sister shared her vocation story, I remember wanting to devote my life to carrying on the mission of Christ in the world. But as I grew older and went to high school, I changed my mind, and in fact, becoming a priest was the last thing I wanted to do. I wanted a fast car, a nice house and a family of my own, and I knew that if I were to become a priest I would have to say no to all those dreams and goals. So throughout high school, I kept running from my calling to the priesthood, never really giving it serious thought. During the first two years of university I dreamed of becoming a movie actor and began working as a movie extra. Try imagining me with an earring and blonde streaks in my hair! But, interestingly enough, I found that the harder I try to run away, the stronger the call became. So at the end of my second year of university, I had to put everything on hold to explore my possible vocation to the priesthood.
When I applied to Serra House (a place of discernment for vocations to diocesan priesthood) and the Oratory of St. Philip Neri Seminary, I thought to myself, “Just one semester…that’s all! And, if I get kicked out, that will make things much simpler!” But not only did I not ask to leave, but I was asked to continue with the discernment with an assurance that my formators thought my call to the priesthood was genuine. While I was at Serra House, I had a conversion experience. One day, I suddenly realized how selfish I was in thinking that my dreams were more important than God. True love puts others before oneself, places the needs of others before his own. That is what Jesus did. He defended the poor and the marginalized. He cured the sick and forgave sins…Jesus considered their needs as His own. All that God was asking me to do, was to continue that mission of Christ…Come, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men! Priesthood, for me, has been nothing but a blessing. I am so glad that I said ‘Yes.’ Little did I know that one day I would be asked to be the founding pastor of St. André Bessette Parish.
Words can’t describe how excited and overjoyed I am at this opportunity to build the community of St. André Bessette. I would love for you to join me in building the community and the Church of St. André Bessette, to share our faith, vision and love! We will be beginning Sunday Mass at St. Cecilia Catholic Elementary School located at 300 Peter Rupert Ave on the 8th of September and every Sunday following.
May God bless you and your family.
I hope to see you soon!