How God Brought Me to the Altar
By: Fr. Peter C. Wang
Close to Inner Mongolia
I was born on December 31, 1922 in a Catholic family at a small village near Inner Mongolia, a part of Manchury China. My grandfather worked in a parish church as a gardener. He was converted to Christian faith by the parish priest who one of the CICM Fathers from Belgium.
Grandfather Prayed for a Priest
My father married my mother who was an orphan from the orphanage of the church. My grandfather prayed at heart to God to give him at least one priest among his ten grandsons. I and one of my cousins entered the minor Seminary when I was 13 years old in the year 1935.
1500 Miles from Home
The minor seminary was about one thousand five hundred miles away from my parents. I finished my elementary and high school in the minor seminary in those days the seminary system was such that after finishing elementary, we had to study French, then after two years of French we begun to study Latin with French and then we studied philosophy and theology with Latin.
Put Into Concentration Camps
When the Second World War started, our seminary staff being Canadians were all put into concentration camps by the Japanese authorities. We had to escape to another seminary which was administered by French Fathers: The Paris Mission.
In 1943 I entered the major seminary which was administered by French Augustian Fathers. I was able to finish one and a half years of Philosophy when the Japanese surrendered on August 15th 1945. Immediately the Russians entered into Manchuria and took all valuables and sent thousands of Japanese to Siberia.
Civil War Breaks Out
After the Russians went the Chinese civil war started: communist against the nationalist. I was caught once in the firing line, many died but by the protection of God, I survive.
If You’re Sincere… Escape
I went to my old bishop who said to me: if you are sincere in your vocation, escape immediately to the South. I am sure you will get help. So I began my journey with 5 dollars in my hand. I was lucky enough to get on the last train going Peking now Beijing.
I had to go to the north-west of China where their was a major seminary administered by the CICM Fathers. There I was accepted and began my first year of Theology.
After almost two years, the communist were coming again to the major seminary. Everybody is uneasy again. One of the vicar generals of the diocese went to the seminary asking a volunteer who would accompany him to go to somewhere in the south of China.
Last Train to Shanghai
I volunteered to take adventure. It took us three days to reach a big city where we were able to get on the last commercial plane to Shanghai. Shanghai City at that time was still in the hands of the nationalist. When I arrive at Shanghai, there were many Seminarians from different provinces gathered in Shanghai.
The majority of the seminarians came from the seminaries administered by the Jesuits so the Jesuits fathers finally decided to bring us (we were about 75) to Manila in the Philippines, where I finished my last two years of Theology and was ordained priest on April 29th 1951. After my ordination I work mostly in the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro with the Jesuits Fathers, Columban Father, and the Diocesan priest until 1980.
Off to Japan
In 1980 I volunteered to go with the Columban Fathers as an Associate Columban missionary to Japan. Since 1980 I have been working as a missionary in Japan.
I was caught once in the firing line, many died by the protection of God, I survived.