TAGUIG City, Nov. 28, 2015 – Priests serving in the military were reminded recently about the purpose of their service: bringing Christ to the country’s armed forces.
“God is inviting us to put our hearts and to set our hearts firmly in the establishment of the kingdom of God in the Philippine Army,” said Fr. LtC Stephen Penetrante, homilist for the Holy Mass celebrated to conclude the 1st Character Enrichment Program (CEP) Conference on Nov. 24 at the Air Force Museum.
Looking back at the period of planning for the soldier’s formation, the priest emphasized “the vision of the kingdom of God whom we hope to reign in the heart of soldiers.”
Focusing on Jesus
Penetrante reminded the 100 people gathered, including chaplains from all over the Philippines as well as lay collaborators from Couples for Christ’s Order of St. Michael (OSM) ministry that in this service God is teaching focus on what is important.
“The Lord is teaching us here, do not be distracted..Our Lord Jesus Christ wants to set our hearts to focus on the esablishment kingdom of God in our hearts first then in the hearts of the soldiers as we continue and sustain this program,” he added.
According to him the nitty-gritty that go with programs like the CEP like “strategizing, the budgeting, the management skills, the mastering of the ropes” are all important but focus on Jesus as the prime mover of the work is the priority.
Lack of funds, logistical constraints
Penetrante, who was also awarded a plaque of appreciation for his “outstanding performance as Chief of Plans and Programs of the Office of the Army Chief Chaplain Service (OACCS), called on his fellow chaplains and lay team members to “ask the intervention of God’s grace” in their service.
“We can see so many signs…lack of funds, logistical and management constraints, personal respnses of the chaplains. Many times we get distracted. But then our Lord Jesus Christ would want to focus us again, to set our hearts firmly…to never lose hope,” he stressed.
The Mass, which was celebrated by Army Chief Chaplain Fr. Col. Andres Bonfiacio Belleza (GSC), concluded the 1st CEP Conference spearheaded by the OACCS and the OSM. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz / CBCP News)