Fr. Albert Sayson
My life at the end of the day…
It is my unending gratitude for the gift of life given to me by God, giver of life through my beloved mama Areopajita Secillano and my papa Teodoro Sayson. I was born on that wonderful day of 23rd October 1962. I am grateful to be a Filipino. I was given the Christian name Albert, the first born in the family. I have my siblings Augusto, Arthur, Aquelis, Allain and Franco. We are a good basketball team according to my parents’ friends and neighbours. My father was a government employee until the age of 72. My mother is a loving and caring wife and mothe. We were raised and given the proper guidance of our parents in all aspects of life as we grew physically, mentally, psychologically, socially and intellectually. My parents taught us how to work hard and that education is important and a gift we all treasure.
I started kindergarten in1970 at a Chinese school, followed by elementary and high school. I graduated from St. Joseph School in 1980. After graduation, I was a self-supporting student working part time with a Chinese priest as an errand boy and altar server. I was attracted to the life of the Chinese priests so I was encouraged to study in the seminary. My ambition when I was young was to have a career as a pilot or join the military. From 1981-1985 I was in the seminary, with perseverance and prayer I realized that this was to be my vocation. I received my bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, and a minor in English at Holy Rosary Major Seminary. Now my plan in life was heading toward serving God and his people.
As I held on to my vocation with God’s direction, I continued that calling and entered into the religious congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Having had my first vows in 1985, I continued my theological studies and was sent to a mission in Zaire, Africa in 1989 for 3 years. I went back to the Philippines to finish my theological studies and with God’s grace I committed myself to a life of service as a missionary priest and was ordained on May 8, 1993.
I served at the mission of Zaire for 7 years; 3 years as an associate pastor, 2 years as a vocation director and 2 years as a pastor. Life in the mission was an enriching experience. I encountered brothers and sisters of other races and integrated into their ways of life, traditions and cultures. After my mission in Africa, I joined a new religious community, the missionaries of Jesus. I was called and sent to integrate and serve the mission of Papua, New Guinea, as a member of a religious community founded in the Philippines. My missionary vocation gave me the opportunity to live with the Papuan brothers and sisters in the parish of St. Francis of Assisi, being a pastor for 10 years. There I recognized he real presence of God in a deeper way, the tremendous wonders of God’s creation and the value of life connected to their traditions and cultures. This experience helped me a great deal to nourish my commitment to serve God and his people with joy and compassion.
There were lots of challenges and struggles that I have experienced and encountered in my missionary life. It is not easy, but prayer and trust in God holds me to continue my journey. The love and care of the people gives me strength and I feel like I belong to them as a member of their family.
Again God is good. Here I am! Welcomed and accepted by the Diocese of Calgary to continue my journey in service to God’s people, in response to His call – to be with you. As brothers and sisters, we can grow as a family and a community with the mission to build God’s Kingdom with love, peace, care and value of life, which is needed most at this time.
Some of my likes and hobbies: I like cooking with the help of a recipe book (cuisine missionaire). I like table tennis, basketball, biking and swimming, and maybe someday I will have an interest in winter and snow.
I like most foods, places, peoples, climates, events and cultures – what I fundamentally ask for is PATIENCE: An old missionary priest asked me before leaving for another country, what is the first virtue you have to bring as a missionary... he said ‘patience’; what is the second virtue you have to learn in the mission... he said ‘patience’; what is the third virtue that must be part of your life as a missionary... he said ‘patience’.
What I don’t like, is to ruin and lose trust, for it is of primary concern to us and to God.