Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 8, 2002
The wait is over
Joselito Cantal to be ordained a priest April 16
By RENATO GANDIA
WCR Staff Writer
Deacon Joselito Cantal has always been a wait-er since he started to discern his vocation to the priesthood.
When he inquired at St. Joseph Seminary in 1996, he waited about six months before he received a response.
At the seminary, before he was instituted lector - the first transitional ministry to be received by a candidate to the priesthood - he waited three years because of changes in the order of the reception of transitional ministries.
After he was ordained deacon, he waited for almost a year before he was called to the ordained priesthood by Archbishop Thomas Collins.
"The wait was worth it," exclaimed Cantal, 37, when WCR talked to him about his forthcoming ordination to the priesthood on April 16 at St. Joseph's Basilica at 7:30 p.m.
Patience, trust in the Holy Spirit and support of the people kept Cantal going for almost a year as he waited to learn his ordination date.
"My journey to the priesthood has been fantastic, challenging and dramatic," he said.
In 1992 Cantal was a licensed mechanical engineer from the Philippines looking for greener pastures. He landed in Brunei, where he worked for Shell Petroleum Company. He immigrated to Canada in 1995.
"I came here to earn money to help my family back home," said Cantal. When he moved to Canada he had no family, relatives or friends here. However, his resolve to help his family financially was firm.
"But the plan of the Lord was different than mine," Cantal said.
Even in Brunei, he was heavily involved in religious activities, like praying the rosary and attending prayer meetings of El Shaddai Prayer Community. And now there was a void inside him that he wanted to fill.
His involvement with different religious activities were formative for his priestly vocation. Not even a year after arriving in Canada, Cantal began to inquire at St. Joseph Seminary.
He waited more than six months before he received a response from the seminary. Since then, waiting and patience have been a motif of his journey. In the fall of 1996, he was accepted by the seminary and sponsored by the Archdiocese of Edmonton.
When he asked his mother, Crispina Cantal, for permission to enter the seminary, she was hesitant. She needed his financial support. But she has since become his greatest backer.
When he was still active in El Shaddai prayer meetings, Cantal met Zeny Lang - he affectionately calls her "Auntie Zeny."
Auntie Zeny became another significant support for Jojo, as he is fondly called. Because his mother lives in Antipolo, Philippines, Auntie Zeny acted as Jojo's surrogate mother.
Coming from the Philippines, English is Cantal's second language. He had a problem with fluency in oral English. But that did not deter him from pursuing his vocation to the priesthood.
Patiently he brushed up on his English and took private tutoring so he would be better equipped when he does one of the most important ministries of a priest, preaching.
"There's a thirst for priestly service within the community and I want to offer my life to help quench that thirst," he said.
Two ministries of a priest are close to Cantal's heart, healing ministry and school ministry.
"I see lots of people who are physically, emotionally and spiritually sick and they need healing. I want to be God's instrument in bringing that healing to them."
Cantal, who has been serving at St. Theresa's Parish, has been ministering at schools in south Edmonton. He relates easily to students from kindergarten to high school.
When "Auntie Zeny" heard the news about the ordination date, she profusely thanked God.
Cantal's mother, Crispina, who is now visiting Canada, said, "I am just filled with joy. It felt like I'm already in heaven."
Deacon Cantal, the first Filipino seminarian to be ordained for the archdiocese, wishes to thank everyone who prayed for him and supported him in his journey to the priesthood.