Indonesian missionary ordained priest in Mongolia
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, 23 September 2017 -- His Excellency Wenceslao Padilla, the bishop of Mongolia ordained Antonius Werun SDB a priest in Sts. Peter & Paul cathedral Ulaanbaatar on September 23, 2017. Fr. Joseph Quang, the provincial of Vietnam-Mongolia, together with many salesians from Vietnam and those who are working in Mongolia as missionaries attended the rite of ordination to the priesthood. The whole prefecture of Mongolia was present to witness the rite ordination.
“Do you love me, Feed my sheep.”(John 21:17) was the motto of his ordination. Based on this theme, His Excellency Wenceslao Padilla delivered his homily advising and encouraging him to love God, to love the church and to love the people of Mongolia. He also requested the faithful to pray and support all the priests.
After the grand ceremony of ordination to the priesthood a big reception was prepared in Don Bosco gymnasium together with colorful cultural show to felicitate the newly ordained priest. The delegation of Mongolia is overjoyed to have a new priest in the person of Fr. Antonius Werun, SDB who is ready to venture and to avail himself to serve the Mongolian church especially the young people. He is a great gift indeed for the church in Mongolia as this year it is celebrating 25 anniversary of the presence of Catholics. The whole delegation assures him of prayers and support.
Fr. Antonius Werun offers His First Thanksgiving Holy Mass
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, 24 September 2017 -- The cathedral of Sts Peter and Paul in Ulaanbaatar was filled with people to participate at the First Thanksgiving Mass of Rev. Antonius Werun on September 24, 2017. More than 10 Salesian priests and other missionary priests working in Mongolia concelebrated with him. The Holy Mass started at 10:30 am with solemn procession towards the Holy Altar with the echo of entrance hymn sung by the choir of the cathedral.
In his homily he shared about his vocation story which was very inspiring and he requested the catholic faithful to accompany him by their prayers. He comes from Indonesia, farming family but deeply religious. His dream to be a priest began in his early childhood. He tried to join the seminaries many times after finishing his high school but due to financial problems he could not make it. He did different types of work in order to sustain himself and the family. After few years of work he entered into other congregations to discern his vocation but nothing suited him. After much discernment and prayer he found Salesian society. He joined the Salesians of Don Bosco in 2003. He had his aspirantate and novitiate in Tigaraksa, Tangerang.
He made his first profession on August 1, 2005. Then he went to Jakarta to complete his Philosophy. On his second year of his philosophy he applied to be a missionary. His application was accepted by Rector Major and he was destined for Pakistan. However, God had another plan for him, he had to wait and do his practical training in Tigaraksa for one year. After one year of practical training in Tigaraksa he received the letter from Rector Major to be sent to Mongolia. Then, he went to Italy for his missionary course on August 2010 and he arrived Mongolia in October same year. After his practical training in Mongolia he went back to Indonesia to obtain his bachelor’s degree. From there he went to the Philippines to do his theology, meanwhile he took his perpetual vows in May 2, 2015. After completing his bachelor’s degree in Theology he came back to Mongolia for diaconal ministry in July 2017. Then on, he has been in charge of the Don Bosco care center and performing his ministry in various parishes and in Don Bosco communities.
He chose his motto “Do you love me, Feed my sheep.”(John 21:17) for his priestly ordination which is very much appropriate in the mission land Mongolia. The delegation of Mongolia is ready to accompany him in his journey as a salesian priest and wishes him success and perseverance in his religious and priestly vocation.
Interview with newly ordained priest Fr. Anton Werun, SDB
Fr. Antonius Werun shares in this short interview his vocation story…
Can you introduce yourself and say something about your family?
My name is ANTONIUS WERUN. People call me ANTON. I was born on 25 July 1979. I have one sister and two brothers. I am the youngest in the family. My Father passed away on January 6, 2010. The main occupation of my family is agriculture.
Why did you choose to be a Salesian priest?
I came to know the Salesians of Don Bosco from the book of religious compendium. I was going to enter into one of the dioceses in Indonesia. One day, unintentionally I opened the book of Religious Compendium of Indonesia and the first congregation that I noticed was the Salesians of Don Bosco. Since my childhood, I had a dream to be a priest. But because of financial problems in the family my dream could not be realized until I finished my Senior High School. After graduation from senior high school I told my parents that I wanted to enter a Seminary. But again due to financial problem I could not enter the Seminary. They asked me to go to Malaysia to work in order to earn money to support myself and the family. But I refuse to go to Malaysia. I preferred to go to Jakarta. I worked as the supervisor in Jakarta for two years. When i came back to my village I met an Augustinian sister. She introduced and encouraged me to join the Servant of God congregation. From this congregation I got some knowledge about the religious life. By this congregation I also came to know the Salesians of Don Bosco.
I joined the Salesians of Don Bosco in 2003. I had my postulant and novitiate in Tigaraksa, Tangerang. I made my first profession on August 1, 2005. After my first profession I went to Jakarta to study Philosophy. On the second year of my philosophy I applied to be a missionary. My application was accepted by rector Major and I was destined for Pakistan. However, God had another plan for me, I had to wait and do my practical training in Tigaraksa for one year. After one year of practical training in Tigaraksa I received the Letter from Rector Major to be sent to Mongolia. Then, I went to Italy for my missionary course on August 2010.
When did you come to Mongolia? How was your feeling in the beginning?
I arrived in Mongolia on October 17, 2010. When I came here, it was very difficult for me, because the weather was very cold and Mongolian national food didn’t suit me. I was surprised to see the Mongolian people, with their white skin not like me black skin and curly hair. I also participated in the Mongolian New Year (lunar New Year) festival. Mongolian people invited me to their homes and gave me fermented milk of mare (Airagh). It was my first time to drink airagh and vodka. I had the feeling of great amazement and wonder after encountering new culture, language and people.
What do you do now in Ulaanbaatar?
I arrived in UB on May 4, 2017 after finishing my theological studies in the Philippines. And now I am assigned in Don Bosco Care Center. In the caring center there are nine children and six staff. I am trying to help these children to fulfill their future dreams by applying Don Bosco’s educative system.
Can you say something about your ordination?
After finishing my theological studies and after spending much time for discernment I applied for the priestly ordination. I am grateful to my formators and superior for their constant guidance and support, and for having admitted me for the sacrament of ordination. I believe there is a great intervention of God in my journey as a religious. In order to prepare myself spiritually, I had three days of guided retreat.
I ask your intense prayer and accompaniment at this time as I prepare myself for the great event of my life. I believe, God has called me by name and I am trying to respond to that call. “Do you Love me?’ Feed my Sheep”! (John 21:17) This is the theme of my ordination. I ask your prayers so that I may be able to be faithful in my vocation and be a true sign and bearer of God’s Love. Thank and God bless you!