王輔天神父 Charles Welsh, S.J.
1934-04-10 生於美國加州舊金山(San Francisco)
1959-09-14 在美國加州洛思加圖斯(Los Gatos)進入耶穌會
1972-06-10 在美國舊金山聖母升天主教座堂(St. Mary's Cathedral)領受司鐸聖職
We all begin out lives as non-Christians, and I am no exception. I was baptized as a month-old baby together with my mother who was coming from a nominally Protestant background, and so we began our faith journey together. Much of my education was in the public school system, so most of my friends were not Catholic. It would be many years before I began to realize that God wanted me to live a special kind of life as a Jesuit in a culture quite different from my own.
I was twenty-three, serving as a newly commissioned officer on a ship in the U.S. Navy, when I first began to feel God’s touch on my shoulder. My interest in faith-related reading deepened and it wasn’t long before I heard a voice from somewhere deep inside say, “You’re going to be a priest.” Of course my first reaction was, “Oh no, I’m not!” But about a year later, I entered the Jesuit novitiate in Los Gatos, California, a path that would lead eventually to Taiwan, where a number of my brother Jesuits from California were already working as missionaries.
Looking back, I now understand how, long before I ever thought of becoming a priest, much less a Jesuit missionary, God was preparing me for my future work with non-Christians. Let me explain. During those formative years as an adolescent and young adult, that is, when I was in high school and college, my classmates and close friends were nearly all non-Catholic; most of them were Protestant. Occasionally our conversations led to challenges that forced me to question and deepen my own Catholic faith. But at the same time, I found myself increasingly interested in the way my non-Catholic friends thought about their faith. It was indeed a very broadening experience.
Eventually, at the age of thirty-one, I came to Taiwan where, in addition to the ordinary priestly ministries for Catholics, I have served in the mental health profession for more than forty years. Work in that field with both individuals and groups has brought me into contact with a great variety of people—nearly all non-Christian. And that fascinates me. That’s where I belong.
Cardinal Avery Dulles once said that the best definition of the Catholic Church is, “Here comes everybody.” Yes, the very meaning of the word “catholic” is universal or all inclusive. Sure, we have schools and parishes where the percentage of Catholics is relatively high. But our service of the faith must also extend to those areas where the Catholic population is sparse. Taiwan is one of them. I believe that God, the Great Shepherd, cares and provides for all. Pardon me if I sense his hand in my life too.
Charles Welsh, sj
August 26, 2019