We have known this young and very passionate man when he was promoting and encouraging young people to attend the Grand Eucharistic Adoration in Don Bosco Makati. His desire for the Eucharist is very evident in his eyes and in the way he gives all for service. His peers admire him and the youth looks up to him. And now, he keeps on inspiring the people around him as he fulfills his vocation and God’s plan for His life. Meet Bro. Gerald Moscardon and know his missionary story. Read on…
Tell us about yourself and your journey of knowing Christ
My nickname is Moski (although do not use this when looking for me at home, we are all Moskis). It’s taken from my surname.
My HS classmates in Don Bosco shortened my surname to such when calling me. I am 38 years old, a seminarian in the prediaconal program of the Diocese of Cubao. I recently finished my seminary formation in Holy Apostles Senior Seminary in San Carlos Pastoral Formation Complex in Makati Cty.
I am a Thomasian, Commerce graduate batch 2004 and I used to work with Splash Corporation as Key Accounts Manager and Junior Brand Manager. I am also a nurse by profession having taken up my Bachelor’s degree in the Philippines and Honour’s degree in the United Kingdom.
My journey of knowing Christ was pretty straightforward in my younger years until age 14. I studied elementary and HS in Catholic Schools run by RVM Sisters and Salesian Fathers, respectively.
When I was 14, I had a very striking experience when I joined a weekend retreat called Days with the Lord. That was the first time I was able to talk to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament with such intimacy and nakedness. That weekend made a huge impact on me as a person and as a Christian. It was the beginning of what I believe is a calling to serve my co-youth.
I was active in Don Bosco Days with the Lord even after college, before I left for further studies abroad. My plan was to work and stay in the UK for good but I had a nagging feeling of lack and emptiness despite achieving what I dreamed of. I came back to the Philippines to assess my life choices.
When I came back, little did I know that God was preparing something for me, beginning with the revival of the youth ministry in our parish in 2014. That year, I did a lot of soul-searching and I realized that God was leading me somewhere else. It gave me profound peace and joy to respond to the call to priesthood despite leaving behind a promising career in the UK and Italy. And those 6 years in seminary formation were years of “rediscovering” Jesus and I really got to know the One who was calling me. The journey of knowing Him will take a lifetime but I feel secure knowing that the one I sought all those years – success, purpose, meaning, was, in fact, a person —Jesus, who is constantly seeking me.
What or who made you decide to be a missionary?
Can you share to us your journey of becoming a missionary?
There is no person in particular that really persuaded me to be on this path. What is instrumental, I suppose, is the school that formed me in my high school years – Don Bosco Technical College in Mandaluyong. My father is a Bosconian so he wanted me and my brothers to be Bosconians too despite the distance to where we live in QC.
The Salesian fathers were the first priests I saw that played with the young, ate and had a laugh with them, and even had a long conversation with them. I was inspired by them.
When I was invited to attend a weekend retreat called Days with the Lord (DWTL) when I was 14, that started, what I think was my call to evangelizing to the youth for many years even after my college years. After coming back from my studies in the UK at age 30, I was asked by my parish priest in St. Paul the Apostle, QC, to “revive” the youth ministry in our parish and my experience with Don Bosco DWTL proved very useful.
I never thought that this experience will eventually revive my desire to be a priest. (I wanted to enter the seminary when I was 16 but my parents refused.)
What makes you feel like a child?
What are your simple joys?
In your missionary adventure, what were your joys, struggles, challenges and even difficulties?
Ever since I was 14 years old, I was already serving the youth, and the joy to serve them is so fulfilling and rewarding despite the many sacrifices. Growing up with them and seeing how they have matured in their faith is a testament to God’s graces working in them. Just to be a witness is a great privilege.
The greatest challenge probably is how big the gap between the generations are. I may relate with a fellow millennial but it is a struggle to catch up and relate with Gen Z’s. The differences are staggering and very challenging especially for those evangelizing the young people. Their life stage is always in transit and cursory. It is a grace how we, as missionaries, can still follow the peaks and troughs without getting lost in the “mess”.
I always say to my co-youth that I prefer a young Catholic who has so many questions about the faith but seeks answers rather than someone who just passively accepts them. It is a great opportunity for us as a Church to meet them where they are and seek the truth together.
How do you define joy?
Joy is the unexplainable, consuming, and overwhelming awareness that everything is as it should be; that everything falls into place; that I am where I am supposed to be despite the difficulties.
In who and what you are now, what are your other dreams or do you still have anything you want to achieve?
I am grateful to God for everything he has done for me in order to reach my life goals. He allowed me to seek happiness and greatness in order for me to realize what I was truly seeking and longing for – Him.
What I have achieved in Commerce, Nursing, and Theology are but God’s ways of preparing me for my ultimate dream. I dream of nothing else but to win souls for Christ especially young people.
On the side, I want to learn Chinese and write a book in the future. I don’t know how they will fit into God’s plan for me especially in my ministry but if He wills them, He may have already paved the way for them.
What is your message to young people who are now feeling lost, who are still finding their purpose, who doesn’t know what to do with their lives?
“But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.” Matthew 6:33
We all seek happiness and greatness. I will be lying if I say otherwise. So, that nagging feeling within you to be happy and to be great, that’s pretty normal. It is actually a gift from God. Without those desires, we would not seek true happiness, true greatness, and true purpose which God wants us to seek.
So, if you want to be a neurosurgeon, a successful businessman, or a prolific writer one day, go for it. If you want to invest in the stock market, travel around the world, or save up for a car, go for it. If you want to have a family someday, stay single, or thinking about priesthood or consecrated life, go for it.
But here’s the key – ask God, “What do you think? Is this your will?” The key to happiness is to know God, love God, and serve God. In your seeking for happiness and purpose, seek intimacy with God, make him your priority, and love those he loves. You will find that whatever life choices you make, you will be happy and great; your life’s purpose will be clear.
What is your message to young people who wanted to serve but do not know how?
Congratulations for having and recognizing that desire to serve because God is already moving you according to His will. Be excited because it is the beginning of something great! Believe me. It is not for you to determine yet how you will serve at this stage.
Start small but give your all. Just be open and docile to God’s stirrings and be generous of yourself. He will lead you to where you are needed. There is a prepared place for you in His Kingdom, in His Church, to build it up for His glory.
If you have a favorite Bible verse, what is it and why.
“Where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more…”
I have been moved by this passage so many times in my prayer and reflection and as I look back at my life, this truth resounds all the more. I am not proud of the many sins and wrong choices I made in my life but I see now the traces of God’s hands working in my life leading me to this point in my life. That is God’s grace being poured out generously on me despite my running away from Him.
It is quite overwhelming to look back at them now because the moment I turned and slowly walked towards Him, I saw what I have been missing – the outpouring of grace from God, only if I have realized and accepted it sooner. I can never outdo Jesus in running. In sinning, I ran away but He ran after me. In repenting, I run back to Him and He runs faster to embrace me. This gives me hope, peace, and joy in answering this vocation.