ON THE OCCASION OF MY SACERDOTAL GOLDEN JUBILEE
As an Alter Christus, I have sedulously and consistently striven over the past 50 years in the priestly ministry to walk in the footsteps of Christ Jesus, who came not to be served, but to serve and that we all may have life and in abundance.
The ultimate measure of a truly Christ-like priest, I believe, is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
The true priest, in imitation of Christ Jesus, will risk his position, his prestige and even his life for the welfare of others. In dangerous valleys and hazardous pathways, he will lift some bruised and beaten brother/sister to a higher and more noble life.
The biblical story of David and Goliath has made an indelible mark on me ever since I first heard it as a primary school student. True to my Christ-assigned mission, I have striven to impress upon my listeners that, against all odds, they can beat any giant, just as the shepherd David triumphed over the warrior Goliath. It is my personal belief that “the little guy always wins.”
Like Christ Jesus, The Wounded Healer, I believe that the greatest triumphs in the world come from suffering, and that a lot of what is most beautiful arises from a tenacious and unrelenting struggle. In this, I have been greatly inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Indian nation and the principal architect of Independence, Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandela “Never love anyone who treats you as ordinary,” so said Oscar Wilde.
With the late Fr. Anthony DeMelo S.J., I too believe that the shortest distance between reality and truth is a story. “Festina lente – be quick, but don’t hurry.” The greatest challenge of a preacher is to tell a story quickly, but in such a way that the listener or reader feels like he or she has all the time in the world. Therein lies the marvel and the wisdom of Christ Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
- 1969 – 1988 – served the archdiocese of Bombay in three parishes as an Assistant Priest and Chaplain in the Parish School.
- 1979 – 1988 – served as a Lecturer in Psychology at the under-graduate level in St. Andrew’s College, Bombay.
- 1990 – acquired a Doctorate in Counselling Psychology.
- 1988 – emigrated to Adelaide and have served in seven parishes, and Chaplain to the Parish Schools and local Hospitals and Nursing Homes.
Fr. James Valladares PhD