Delay is not denial.
Bio for Father Raldy Jhack Diaz
Father Jhack is the Parish Priest, Diocesan Vocation Director, Vicar Forane, and Diocesan Caritas chairperson as well as the incoming Diocesan Catholic Women League’s Chaplain. He is the first Filipino priest ordained in the Diocese of St. Paul Alberta and is currently the Pastor of a rural catholic church in Mallaig.
Fr. Jhack is a country boy raised by farmer parents. Abject poverty was the biggest dragon he fought, and education was the weapon he used to fight against it. He entered the seminary at the age of 17 and after long years of patiently waiting, he received his ordination into priesthood at the age of 35. He brought with him this personal battle cry: “Blessings delayed but not denied.”
Fr Jhack grew up in a village in the Philippines. His parents were farmers and didn’t have a lot to offer. One thing that Jhack knew in his heart was that education would get him from the dragon of poverty someday. Looking at his life now, his dream came true.
In this episode, Father Jhack shares his journey to becoming the priest he is today. We hear why it took him 17 years to become a priest after joining the seminary, the challenges he overcame, how he came to Canada, and what drives him.
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fr.jhackdiaz
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQFtXbf_OBarmd1A0qW1Fug
- “When we love, I firmly believe the devil will melt like snow. This is the invitation for all of us to be people of love … because love is the other name of God.”
- “Life is not about accumulation, but it’s all about contribution. It’s all about giving, not getting.”
- “Prayer is the weakness of God and the strength of men.”
How Father Jhack is Handling Cultural Divide
Father Jhack believes his faith in God has been instrumental to him in handling the cultural divide between the Philippines and Canada, and between Indigenous peoples and the Catholic church. He says the Lord promises us his presence, so we are never alone.
Jhack also attributes his ability to get along with many different people to his personality and his philosophy to live the way people live. In his parish, Father Jhack is referred to as a ‘rock star’ not because he is famous but because he helps farmers pick rocks from fields during his free time. His humility to ride on a Combine with his parishioners during harvest season makes people feel like he is part of the family.
Father Jhack comes from a humble background with a staunch catholic faith. As a child, they used to walk several miles a week to attend mass. Missing mass was not an option. In church, Jhack always admired how the priests dressed and although he wanted to be a physician, knowing his family couldn’t afford it, he became attracted to the priesthood as a more viable possibility.
He believes it was through God’s grace qualified him, despite him not being qualified.
Fr. Jhack’s parents were strict with discipline and laid a strong foundation for his faith. They kept encouraging him to pray, not to be ashamed to practice his faith, and always aim higher. Their motivation and encouragement made Jhack take his education seriously, knowing it would be his stepping stone out of poverty.
Cultural and Leadership Influences
Fr. Jhack defines his leadership style as servant leadership. He draws his inspiration from Jesus and tries to serve as he believes Christ would. Service is the main reason why he feels priesthood is his vocation.
Personality and temperaments
Fr. Jhack refers to himself as the life of the party. He loves people, seeks attention, and enjoys being the centre of every event. He also has a strong sense of competition and continues to struggle with humility.
In the Philippines, when driving on the merge lane, you must give way, but in Calgary, things are different. Instead of giving way, you should speed up. One day, Father Jhack was going to renew his passport in Calgary. He got into a merge lane, and because of his driving experience in the Philippines, he yielded instead of speeding up. The people behind him started honking, and one of the drivers showed him the middle finger but apologized later when they saw his priest collar! This was the moment he realized he would need to do things differently in Canada.
Fr. Jhack urges us to believe in our enormous ability to bless the world, never give up, and keep praying.
What brings out the best in Fr. Jhack
Father Jhack believes music brings the best out of him, which I personally witnessed listening to him sing and play a song he wrote for the 90th birthday of my husband’s aunt. Not only was the song really good, but his stage presence was impeccable. On his YouTube channel thousands of fans wait to hear his sermons the day before he delivers them in person on Sunday! He even called me after the interview to give me his tag line for the podcast title, delivered with the professionalism of a seasoned performer.
Born into a poor farm community in the Philippines, Fr. Jhack Diaz is the poster boy for overcoming obstacles through faith and perseverance. His sociable “life of the party” personality tempered with humility and wisdom have made him the beloved member of a Northern Alberta community so far culturally removed from his experience in the Philippines as to seem impossible. I really enjoyed my interview with Fr Jhack and was inspired by his beautifully articulated principles and memorable acronyms which he uses to help people remember his points. His faith philosophy is the three R’s–don’t accept “rejection”, “remember to lean on God” and when you do the first two you will see “results”. He explains his life philosophy as two points:
1.Never give up
2.Always go back to the first point.
Given his talent for speaking from the heart, and his dramatic flair, you may not be surprised to know that he has a Facebook page with over 10K followers and a thriving YouTube channel.