Even before he was ordained to the priesthood, Carmelite Father Joseph Wu’s work had created an impact at St. Raphael Church in Los Angeles.Fluent in four languages, the native of Taipei brought “a tremendous and lasting energy” to St. Raphael, say parishioners, who joined with the Carmelite Order and members of Los Angeles’ Chinese Catholic community in celebrating Father Wu’s ordination April 21.Bishop Michael La Fay Bardi, O. Carm., of Cuzco, Peru, presided at the Mass of Ordination. In his homily, the bishop stressed that Father Wu was “ordained for the love of everybody.”  “The homily, matches everything I believe,” said Father Wu. “I experience God as a tremendous love. He is merciful and compassionate. The Good News is the correct image of God demonstrated by Jesus Christ. He is a loving God, not a punishing one.”His journey to priesthood began as a child in Taipei, where he lived there until he was 13. The first time he rode the bus to his elementary school, young Joseph saw his first impression of the Catholic faith written on a wall at the school: “For God, so much loved the world, He gave us his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.” “These words influenced me to explore more about Jesus and foster a deeper relationship with God,” he said.At 13, his family immigrated to Ecuador, where he attended Catholic schools taught by the Salesians and the Christian Brothers. At 21, he moved to Los Angeles to answer his vocational call and met the Carmelites. “The variety of ministries the Carmelites offered me in the parish settings, high schools, missionary work, and retreat houses allowed me to use my talents in the best way to serve God and the world,” said Father Wu.   He said that to answer his vocational call, he had to “stop looking outside” of himself. Through contemplation and prayer, he became aware of everything he was searching for was already inside of him. “Like most of us, I looked outside of me rather than going inside,” Father Wu said. “That is the beauty of Carmelite spirituality. God is inside your heart, and we go inside through contemplation and prayer; that is how you will find that absolute purity, that innocence, that genuineness of God’s merciful love.”Following Father Wu’s Ordination Mass, St. Raphael hosted a multi-cultural festival which included performances by a mariachi band, Polynesian dancers, an Ecuadorian dance troupe, and a Salvadorian choir, along with a host of visiting Chinese choirs. For Father Wu, the melting pot of cultures at St. Raphael is representative of his own life experiences and upbringing. To anyone deciding on a vocational call, Father Wu’s advice is not to “rush, and don’t feel pressured.” He believes those who are called should “experience God’s merciful love and His Blessings in their life. Mediate, pray, contemplate and, most importantly, trust. The theological virtues of faith, hope and love need to be in, not only the head, but the heart. By coming out of the heart, you need to experience, explore God’s abundant graces in our mists.” {gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2012/0615/carmelite/{/gallery}