Rekindling the Forgotten Flame: The Story of Rev. Emmanuel Calumpong

Rev Emman Calumpong portrait“I did not choose this vocation. God chose me,” Rev. Emmanuel said.

After working as a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) for 19 years, Rev. Emmanuel Gepitulan Calumpong decided to start his totally different journey towards priesthood. With God’s grace and guidance, he will be ordained as priest this coming May 6, 2017 at the Ascension of the Lord Parish.

Early Life and Career
Rev. Emmanuel Gepitulan Calumpong was born on February 24, 1969 in Malalag, Davao del Sur. He was the 8th child among the 10 children of Florencio Nazareno Calumpong and Diosdada Alfar Gepitulan. He grew up in a big, God-fearing and loving family.

Emmanuel finished his primary education at Malalag Central Elementary School in 1980 and secondary education at Holy Cross of Malalag in 1984. He funded his own education through academic scholarships. After years of hardwork and perseverance, he successfully graduated from Ateneo de Davao University finishing Bachelor of Science in Accountancy at the age of 18 in 1988. A year after his college graduation, he became a CPA. He worked and served for 19 years in Sycip, Gorres, Velayo & Co. (SGV), Davao Sugar Central, Ateneo de Davao University, and Del Monte Fresh Produce Philippines. Through his profession, he was able to help his siblings finish their studies.

Turning Point
When he finally resigned to take a break from his corporate work, he had the chance to assist the finance office of the Archdiocese of Davao in doing the financial and operations audit, and in setting up an accounting system for the Chancery and for the parishes. He decided to work there for more than two years and he worked closely with many priests and church volunteers.

Out of a usual conversation, a priest, who became his friend, asked him if he had any desire to enter the priesthood life. He remembered the fire and desire for the vocation burning in his heart way back in his younger years. Emman was able to pass the entrance exam of the St. Francis Xavier College Seminary (XACOSE), however, his father wished if he could find another profession to journey aside from priesthood since one of his brothers, Fr. Jade (Reynaldo Calumpong) was already a priest of the Archdiocese of Davao. Also, his father wanted him to reconsider so that he would be able to help his siblings finish their studies as well. He was obedient to his father and decided to take up a college degree. Sad to say, his father died in a motorcycle accident when he was in his 2nd year of working in the corporate world.

After his conversation with the priest, he had difficulty of sleeping at night. He was disturbed by the question brought up by the priest. Finally, he shared to the priest of his revived intention to enter priesthood. This priest referred Emman to another priest for Spiritual Directions and guided him into this rekindled desire to the priesthood. It took him a year to finally decide to enter a seminary which would accept him considering his age. When he told this great news to his family and relatives, mixed reactions aroused. His mother and brother were very happy for him that he finally pursued his first love which is to become a priest. However, others saw it as a loss considering the high salary Emman was already receiving from his profession. Others even called it a stupid decision. But those negations did not put off the fire that is burning in his heart. He entered the Holy Apostles Senior Seminary (HASS) at San Carlos Seminary Complex at the age of 39 and finished his masteral degree in Theology Major in Spiritual Life in San Carlos Graduate School of Theology both in Guadalupe, Makati City.

Seminary Life
Being a seminarian means devoting yourself to God, learning to let go of the life one had before, placing new priorities and building new families in many forms. With this, just like any priest who went through this, his life as a seminarian was not that easy and was the total opposite to what life he had before. He had to leave his retired mother, who was always with him, and his siblings too. He also gave up his high-paying job and along with that means he could no longer support financially his siblings when they need help. Even he could no longer support himself. He could not even go home when his niece died and could not stay longer with his family to grieve when his brother died. Aside from this, he had difficulty adjusting to the academic requirements considering his age. He did not have enough financial resources to support his needs for books and other expenses in the seminary. It was difficult for him to even ask from his siblings, as they too were having financial difficulties.

On his last year of formation, his mother had a stroke which made it difficult for him to decide whether to finish his last year of studies or to step out of the seminary in order to help find ways to support the medical needs of her mother. It is known that the common struggle of all seminarians is the long formation that tests their patience as to when will the formation end and finally be ordained as a priest.

Nonetheless, Emman continued and finished his formation excellently for he believes “God chose me to be here, so He should take care of me and my concerns!” Finally, he was ordained as deacon last August 4, 2016.

Life in the Parish
Strengthened by life’s trials and difficulties, Rev. Emman radiates God’s goodness to him throughout the years through his service to the GKK and to the parish as a whole where he belongs. He served as one of the members of finance committee of the Ascension of the Lord Parish and became a big part in the fulfilment of the fund raising campaign of the parish last 2015 dubbed as “6MASS3”. He also imparted what he had learned from his formation and his past experiences through giving inputs to the different ministries of the parish in order to help in the spiritual formation of the ministers.

This coming May 6, 2017, Rev. Emmanuel Gepitulan Calumpong of the Ascension of the Lord Parish will finally be ordained as priest with the theme “Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You!” (John 21:17) The Ascension of the Lord Parish is also one in this great rejoicing for it marks another milestone for the parish. In the 15 years of parish’s existence, it is the very first time of the parish to have its first ordination as priest coming from our parishioners. To God be the glory! (Regine Baguio | ALP SoCCom)

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