Fr Pio Hendi

I am the third of four children. I was born in 1981 in Param, a small village in the North West corner of Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia.

When I was a child, it never occurred to me to become a priest. I wished to be an English teacher or a nurse. However, it seemed that God wanted something else from me. My encounter with the Capuchin brothers who worked in my parish and also in a new friary close to my place had taken me into a special adventure of faith. Individuals wearing simple brown habits really attracted my heart. Gradually, I fell in love with the Capuchins!

Based on my discernment, Capuchins are persons of prayer but also actively involved in real life. Relationship with God is their breath, and brotherhood is their pillar. Therefore, they become brothers for all, including those who are poor and marginalised. They also become models of environmental conservation and motivators in the field of the moral and spiritual life. However, in fact, such persons are still very few in number, both in the Church and in society. These concerns and the allure of the charism then led me into a total decision: one day, I would like to be one of them - as a Capuchin priest!

However, choosing a new way of life as a Capuchin was not easy. Challenges from my family, the influence of my friends, and mental examinations of third parties had greatly shaken the maturity of my decision. Nevertheless, I believed that every decision must have its own consequences, and these consequences have to be lived with courage. It was a step forward!

As a proof of my commitment, I joined Postulancy in 2002, and in the middle of July 2003, I received a brown habit for the first time in the Novitiate in Gunung Poteng. One year later, precisely on 2nd August 2004, I made my first vows as a sign that I was fully accepted as a Capuchin brother of the Province of St Mary, the Queen of Angels, Pontianak.

Living as a young Capuchin did not make all things easy and holy immediately. On the contrary, it was a time of filtering and purifying. The length of education that must be taken by a priest candidate really becomes a big touchstone. During this time, there are many difficulties that must be overcome: education (in philosophy and theology) and formation (in Franciscan spirituality). Fortunately, these difficulties made me grow stronger, just like gold that has to be purified in the fiery furnace (cf. 1 Pet 1:7). After a long discernment, I bravely made my solemn vows on 4th August 2011 in Sanggau Kapuas.

Being a Capuchin is being a brother for all around the world. This consideration made me gladly accept the invitation of my provincial to finish my studies in Australia. Therefore, on 1st March 2012, I arrived in Sydney and did a high level English course for few months, before continuing my theological studies at the Catholic Institute of Sydney. I graduated on 10th May 2014. The experience of study and ministry in Australia is wonderful. I have learned a lot, not only how to study but also how to live in fraternities and do pastoral work in special circumstances. For me, these have been invaluable experiences!

Several months after my graduation, I was ordained as a deacon in Leichhardt (29th November 2013). I then carried out my ministry as a deacon at Ss Peter and Paul’s Parish, South Melbourne, for six months. On 24th July 2014, I was ordained to the priesthood at my small town, Sanggau Ledo. It was a marvellous celebration, once for ever!

Being a priest is not the end of my journey. This status is just the first step in facing ever greater responsibilities. For me, there is only one focus to be pursued in every word and action: the Lord Jesus Christ Himself! I express this yearning with a biblical quotation: “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus…” (Col 3:17).