• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐
    圣福若瑟神父

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动
    圣杨生•爱诺德神父

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Friday, 13 September 2013 11:46

Fr Dom celebrates 60 years in religious vows

Fr-Dom-Flores-SVD---350Technically, Fr Dom Flores SVD is supposed to be retired, but as he celebrates 60 years in religious vows, it is clear that when it comes to his ministry, his love of people and the Word of God, he still has energy to burn.

Whether he is celebrating Mass, helping to arrange the flowers in the Chapel, or joining local seniors for a sing-along and dance, Fr Dom’s famous smile illuminates all he does.

Fr Dom took his first temporary vows as a Divine Word Missionary in 1953 in the northern province of the Philippines, where he was born and raised.

“I grew up in an area which was a mission territory for the Divine Word Missionaries,” he says. “There were only SVD priests in our local region,” he says. “My environment as I grew up was very Catholic. I was an altar boy, and we would follow the missionaries when they went and visited villages, all on horseback in those days. Eventually, after completing my Intermediate level of high school, I ended up in the seminary, in 1946. I was 15 years old.”

After completing his studies and formation, Fr Dom took his perpetual vows and was ordained a priest.
Despite hoping to kick off his life as a missionary in a country outside the Philippines, such as Indonesia or New Guinea, Fr Dom’s first assignment was to his home province, where he was first an assistant priest in a parish, and then appointed Parish Priest in Bangued. He went on to work as the Bishop’s secretary, study in a pastoral institute of the Jesuits, and then work in an SVD college in Bangued, before leaving in 1974 to provide formation in the regional seminary.

Eventually, after 25 years in religious vows, Fr Dom fulfilled his hope of becoming an overseas missionary, when he was appointed to the new SVD mission in Samoa, where he and SVD confreres took up the care of a diocesan pastoral centre.

“It was a centre for local people, catechists etc,” he says. “We would hold seminars on the Bible and theology, as well as on the Vatican II renewal,” he says. “We also held formation seminars for priests and religious and invited participants from other Pacific countries like Tonga, Fiji, the Cook Islands, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.”

In 1996, his time in Samoa came to an end and Fr Dom was keen to head back home to the Philippines. However, he was instead asked to come to Australia and work as a chaplain to the Filipino community in Brisbane.

“To be honest, I didn’t want to come here,” he says. “I wanted to go home. I was intimidated by Australia being such a big place, certainly in comparison with Samoa.”

But he accepted the appointment and ministered to Brisbane’s Filipino community until 2004 when he was appointed as Parish Priest in Macquarie Fields, before taking up the post of Rector in the SVD formation house in Box Hill in 2007.

“In 2009 I came here (to Marsfield in Sydney),” he says. “I should be retired, but I don’t want to retire yet. I still feel strong, so why would I retire?”

Fr Dom keeps busy doing pastoral supply work in neighbouring parishes, as well as weddings for people he has known over the years. He is actively involved with the worshipping community of the SVDs’ Arnold Janssen Chapel, including being a part of the flower-arranging team. He also hosts a seniors’ get-together for the local community, called the Golden Oldies Social.

Looking back over his 60 years of religious life, Fr Dom says he can see the working of the Holy Spirit and the grace of God at work in his life.

“When I look back, I find that underlying all I’ve done is the Word of God – which reflects exactly our name, the Divine Word Missionaries,” he says. “I’ve been to some very different places, but what did I do in all these places? It was the Word of God. The centre of it all has been and still is, Our Lord, which was really the motive of all I’ve been doing, perhaps unconsciously, from the beginning.

“I don’t have a high degree in the Bible. I call myself a paramedic. Paramedics are people who are in the field, who help people in an emergency, in the first instance. That’s how I see myself, with the Bible. Because people need to know the Word of God, but sometimes the ‘Doctors’ of the Bible are a long way from the people, in seminaries and universities, so that’s where I can come in and offer front line help.”