Servant of the flock

Visesio Tawake (middle) with mum, Ledua Tawake, and dad, Laberato Tawake, in Toga, Rewa. Picture: WATA SHAW

After eight years of serving and trusting a divine calling in his life, Visesio Tawake became a fully ordained priest.

And in the process, he became the first in the vanua of Toga, in Rewa to enter the priesthood.

Fr Tawake was ordained at the Sacred Heart Cathedral by Archbishop Peter Loy Chong last month in front of close family, parishioners and friends.

To mark the auspicious event, close to two hundred people traveled from as far as Kadavu to attend a thanksgiving mass organised for the cleric in Navatuyaba Village, Rewa.

Originally from Navatuyaba, Toga na Qavoka, Rewa with familial links to Naikeleyaga, Kabara, in Lau, the former Marist Brothers High School student said what started as a journey in 2014, had now culminated into an experience he would never forget.

Fr Tawake did not always want to be a priest. He got into the teaching profession before fully committing himself to a religious life.

“I hardly went to church when I was teaching in Votualevu College in Nadi,” Fr Tawake shared.

“But one Sunday I went to mass during the prayer of the faithful for vocation.

“They prayed for young men to open up about their vocation and I was astounded and shaken by that experience.”

His second spiritually significant experience happened after the second term of school back in 2012.

“One of my cousins invited me to stay back during a Parish Pastoral Committee (PPC) meeting and wait for my uncle who was the chairman for the parish.

“Just before the meeting ended someone put a hand up, asking if we could pray for vocation, especially in the parish. He said both experiences – one during prayer and another during a meeting, helped bring him closer to his calling.

“I was a troubled youth and my parents could testify to that.

“In my heart and mind things that God was trying to tell me through the various mediums lingered.

“I felt like God was waiting for me to open myself up to accept his invitation. He said during his eight years of devotion and vocation, he faced countless challenges.

“One was academic. I did my studies in the Pacific Regional seminary in Nasese.

“Within the first three years, I also studied human formation – which is very important in becoming a priest.

“I had to know who I am, my history and how I could reconcile my history and let God’s healing transform me into the person he wants me to be.”

After seven years of academic studies, he completed a spiritual year and went to the Philippines in 2017.

He said his ‘source of strength’ to finish his priestly studies and embark on a new journey came from the support of his family and ‘vanua’.

Fr Tawake will spend of few weeks in the village of Navatuyaba, Rewa before continuing his spiritual calling and duties as a servant of God.

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