Meet our new priest - Father Michael Jeeva Antony

Fr. Michael graciously answered some questions about his priestly life before returning to St. Peter and supplied some wonderful photos.

Ordination - When and where were you ordained? What do you remember about that day?

I was ordained on 22nd May 1999 at my home parish 'St. James Catholic Church, Vadasery'. I was glad that I was ordained by Bishop Leon Tharmaraj D.D., who was my pastor when I entered the seminary; he was an inspiration for me.

The one moment that I can never forget is the moment when the Bishop called out my name to step forward during the ordination ceremony and I had to go to my parents to receive their blessing, it was a special moment because by blessing me they were bidding me farewell to be "set apart" for the ministry.

How did you hear God's call to the priesthood?

I was inspired by my Mom who was so much active as a member of the Legion of Mary. Later as the Altar server I looked at the Priests whom I served at the Mass and longed that I would be a Priest one day and celebrate the Holy Eucharist. The seed of vocation was nurtured by so many other people who came in my life later on.

Your first years as a priest in India - as parochial vicar in the Diocese of Simdega?

It was more an initiation to the mission work, tough and rough but it did the miracle in me to be what I am today.

As parochial vicar and pastor in the Diocese of Port Blair?

I always considered these years as the moment of realization. It is because of those few years working under the Diocese, I realized that I was called to be a Diocesan Priest. When I looked back these years were one of those cherished moments of my priestly ministry.

As vocations director and minor seminary director in the Diocese of Chingleput?

They were busy and wearing years running about trying to recruit candidates for priesthood, but they were enriching though.

As pre-novitiate director and orphanage assistant director in the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman?

Once again I was forming the seminarians to be good missionaries in the pre novitiate. I had the joy of seeing some of them performing well in the later stages of formation.

Taking care of the orphans was a wonderful ministry. They helped me to know how fortunate I was to have a family and support. These less fortunate children widened my perception toward ministry. In the process of providing them care I realized more vividly that God cares for me.

How you came to Oregon - Oregon???? - That's half a world away from India. How did that come about?

In my search for pastoral ministry outside my Order I was lead to the Archdiocese by my colleague priest Fr. Peter Fernandes who was assigned in Portland at that time.

Away from Home but as a missionary you are at home with God's people. I left my family and brothers and sisters! Only to find thousands of them the other side of the globe, that is a true miracle. I lost nothing because God and His people are everything. It is a challenging ministry but at the end of the day I have my satisfaction of making a difference to someone in some way.

Your first days/weeks in Oregon?

Oh! No. Don't remind me of those few days - It felt Cold and lost in a different planet.

Your time as parochial vicar at St. Peter and St. Mark?

The Golden period of my Priestly ministry.

Learning Spanish?

Still finding it hard and waiting for a miracle to happen to master that wonderful language. But something tells me - 'You can do it.'

Your year back in India?

Frustrating but I won the race convincing my Order that I am needed this side for God's work. It was worthwhile. I believe that God writes straight on crooked lines.

Returning to us - Do you want to share anything about your return to Oregon?

A DREAM CAME TRUE.

When did you learn that you were coming back to St. Peter and St. Mark?

On my way back to Medford from Portland after a wonderful Chrism mass celebration in Portland.

How did you feel when you learned this?

A PLEASANT SURPRISE and it felt great to know that God still finds me fit to serve these two parishes. It was like COMING BACK HOME.

And one last personal curiosity question. - What's the story behind you in front of that nice airplane? Have you learned to fly?

I was just having a flying experience with Mike Hennessey. I loved the one hour fly and loved the Ariel view of St. Peter and St Mark from the sky. The journey does not end there I am looking forward to do that again.



 
 
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