Ordination of Saipan priest set for weekend

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BY THOMAS MANGLONA II The North Star Catholic newspaper 

As the Catholic community counts down the days until Deacon James Balajadia’s priestly ordination, the Saipan native says that it is a “dream come true for him to become a priest for the people of the CNMI.”

Balajadia, a 2007 alumnus of Mount Carmel School, was welcomed to the Holy Order as a transitional deacon in October. He was scheduled to be ordained a priest at Mount Carmel Cathedral in Saipan Saturday, Dec. 14.

Balajadia told the North Star that he is elated to have the opportunity to serve the people who invited him to consider the priesthood as God’s call in his life.

“I’m especially excited because I will be a priest for our people here in this Diocese of Chalan Kanoa,” he said. “My family, friends, and the community have been nothing but supportive throughout my whole preparation for the day of my ordination as a priest. Their constant encouragement means so much to me.”

The soon-to-be-priest’s seven year journey in the seminary leading to his ordination brought with it difficult obstacles to overcome.

“Throughout my years in the seminary there were times when I wanted to just give up, quit, or take a very long break from it all,” he said.

But through all the hardship and sacrifices, he said, there was also a lot joy.

“The joys of learning more about the faith, meeting people from all parts of the world, and just experiencing God’s providence and love in life. I’ve also had a lot of fun while on this road, making friends from all over. And if I had to do it all over again, I really would,” he added.

Deacon Balajadia attributed his success in his religious life to God, family members, local clergy, and the island community.

“Of course, I was never alone in this journey…God gave me so many people to accompany me through this whole adventure.”

He hopes that his story inspires youth to be faithful to the gospel and practice their faith.

“When you give yourself completely to God, the Lord will raise you and lead you to places you never even dreamed of,” he said.

As a soon-to-be priest in the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa, Balajadia said that it is his primary goal to guide, teach, and encourage people to live out the gospel.

“I will have to show them, by word and example, the way to Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and life.”

Republished with permission from the North Star, the Catholic newspaper of the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa.