By Aaron Jayadhitya Fernandez and John Reginald Shutler
Ordained on 28 August 1966 , Rev Fr Paul Pang , CSsR , celebrated his 50 years jubilee as a Redemptorist priest this year , marking five decades that was filled with meaningful and fulfilling pastoral work . His account of his early life , call to priesthood and involvement with many ministries have had and will have a long lasting impact on many whose lives he has touched .
Father Paul Pang , CSsR , who turned 80 in August , first started his humble journey in the hallways of St Joseph ’ s Institution at Bras Basah Road . Growing up in a non-Catholic family , he was drawn to Catholicism after receiving his Catholic education at SJI . It was the influence of the De LaSalle Brothers and lay teachers that convinced him to become a Catholic . Fr Paul expressed great admiration for the Brothers and the lay teachers who taught him catechism . Building up on what he had learnt in SJI , Fr Paul received a one-month catechism course from a Redemptorist Fr Thomas Creede , who baptised him at the Church of the Sacred Heart .
It was however the Redemptorist School Missions and the Novena Devotions that turned his thoughts to the priesthood with the Redemptorists , the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer ( Latin : Congregatio Sanctissimi Redemptoris – C . Ss . R ), a Roman Catholic missionary Congregation founded by Saint Alphonsus Liguori at Scala , Italy , for the purpose of labouring among the poor neglected country people in the neighbourhood of Naples . The Redemptorists spoke in a way that touched the hearts of the people . For Fr Paul , the Redemptorists through their preaching touched the deepest yearning of his heart , the yearning for salvation which shaped his character and attitude towards the Religious Life and the Priesthood . In those days , the Redemptorists were fire and brimstone preachers , raining down threats of eternal hell fire on sinners ( He said this with a wide grin ). No doubt they also preached on the love of Jesus who redeemed us by His death on the Cross , the Eucharist , and Mother Mary ’ s love for us , but it was the “ terror sermons ” that motivated the young 20-year old convert to ask for admission to the Redemptorists Congregation .
Fr Paul was admitted into the Novitiate and took his first vows in 1959 in Pennant Hills , NSW . Still burdened by the fear of eternal damnation , he went on to the Redemptorist Studentate in Ballarat