Vocation Testimonies: Mau Ulep, CMF

1. How did your missionary vocation start?

It all started when I was young. I have been exposed to religious activities through my mother. At an early age, I loved to go to church and celebrate mass and other church-related activities. In fact, since childhood, I already have a special devotion to the Blessed Mother and to the Sto. Niño. I was also inspired by the witnessing of our parish priest then who worked with apostolic zeal. I also remember how I played the role of a priest when I was a child (commonly termed, “pari-parian”)-while my relatives acted as my immediate congregation. With all these, my desire for priestly and religious missionary life started and grew.

2. How was your vocation discernment?

As I grew, I continued nurturing the idea of becoming a priest someday although at some stage this desire wavered. There were also contrapositions to my dream. Toward the end of my high school, I have started to consult our school guidance counselor-and she, being a religious sister, helped me consider the possible options. It was somehow difficult to discern but with my constant dialogue with HIM who is the source of vocation through the intercession of the Blessed Mother, I finally decided to join the Claretians days after my birthday.

3. What was the reaction of your parents when you told them that you wanted to become Claretian?

Initially, especially my father, my parents were somehow surprised. There was also anxiety in them-what will happen to me-especially when they learned about the kidnapping of a Claretian missionary priest, Fr. Bernardo Blanco, CMF. But later on, they have accepted my decision. Indeed, they are now very supportive of me.

4. Do you think it is worth to become missionary nowadays?

To become a missionary is more worth-desiring now. In this world engulfed with a culture of egoism and non-commitment, there is a need for witnesses and signs of true service and commitment-who can sacrifice their lives even facing death like Fr. Rhoel Gallardo, CMF.

5. What would you advise to these young people who are now in their vocation discernment?

Be constant in your prayer. Never forget that the foundation of vocation is God-He is the one calling. Therefore, pray to him and ask him for the inspiration, guidance and wisdom to discern properly. Ask also the Blessed Mother to help you-she is the exemplar of commitment and service. You may also consult your spiritual director or counselor for some guidance; but remember that the final decision is with you.

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