The Transformed Priest-To-Be

A Catholic Bible Study group in session led by Wang in red (front).

SHANDONG, China – “Seated in a circle around a young man who was leading the group in a Bible Study session were Catholic believers, somewhat older than the young leader in the middle. The leader’s name is Wang Jin Bao, a soon-to-be priest. Anyone watching him would be struck by his earnestness in teaching as well as by the attentiveness of his listeners,” narrated UBS staff Ms Jacqueline Ho, who was at that time visiting the group.

In his own words, priest-to-be Wang Jun Bao said he is not your model Catholic priest. Originally a resident from Taiyuan, Shaanxi Province, he is currently studying in a seminary in Shandong Province. He comes from a Catholic family where his forefathers were staunch Catholics.

He had an extraordinary life journey to priesthood– an amazing one, he told us. Just like Saint Augustine when he was little, young Wang was rebellious and disobedient at home and at school. Although he was a clever young boy, he skipped classes and ended up not being able to pass his high school exams.  His mother suggested that he enter the seminary. He actually consented to it without giving much thought. When Wang entered the seminary, he brought all his disinterest in studying along. His attitude to life had not changed much. He was still as rebellious as before and he had to stop his seminary studies for a year. During that year while he was away from the seminary, he took up a secular job. One day while he was attending Mass, he began to miss the life he had in the seminary. After 6 months of struggle, he finally decided to return to the seminary to complete his final year of studies.

For the past 11 years or so, he did not pay attention to the Bible. But the last 6 months have been a life-changing experience for him. He is truly experiencing the work of the Holy Spirit and the reality of God. He saw how amazing the Lord’s leading is and found new purpose in life. He begins to realize what God wants of him and that his own worth is nothing compared to knowing God. His life is forever changed by God.

Wang Junbao

After all that had happened, though he still wonders about God’s leading, he has no regrets to be in this ministry of serving the Lord. From the time he entered the seminary till now, this verse from Matthew 11:28 has been his favorite: “Come to me, all you who labor and are overburdened and I will give you rest” (New Jerusalem Bible).

Since entering the seminary, he realized that Bibles are expensive and most Catholic believers do not get to read it, much less own it. It is therefore a blessing for the Chinese believers to receive overseas’ support for Bible paper and other resources. Wang thanks all UBS donors sincerely from the bottom of his heart.

Story: Pamela Choo
Interview and Photos: Jacqueline Ho
Translation: Chiong Min Lee
2014 © United Bible Societies China Partnership