CEBU City, Jan. 27, 2016 – A speaker at the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) in Cebu City on Tuesday encouraged fellow priests to spend at least an hour daily with the Blessed Sacrament for the sake of their ministry which, he said, needs continuous nourishment.
“When I don’t pray meaningfully then my ministry becomes ‘routinary.’ I’m not telling you because I studied about that. I’m telling you because I experienced that. The moment I neglect my prayer life, my ministry becomes burdensome,” shared Fr. Luciano Ariel Felloni, chief pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes in Camarin, Caloocan City.
Ministry becomes torture
In his talk, “Washing the Feet of the Poor: The Eucharist and the Priesthood,” he went on to tell congress delegates from around the world, many of whom are priests like himself, at the city’s Waterfront Hotel, that delivering homilies becomes a challenge and “a torture” for a minister with little or no prayer life at all since one cannot give what one lacks.
“When you don’t have what to say, when you don’t know what to say, when you don’t know what to do with the problem of the parish, it’s a sign maybe that you’re not giving the Lord that one hour at least of adoration everyday,” he explained.
According to Felloni, a missionary to the Philippines for 21 years now, the most important and difficult duty of a priest is to be faithful and to stay thus.
Duty to stay faithful
“It helps so much for us priests to be sent there. To do the most important duty that we have to do, that is, to be faithful, [is] the most difficult of them all. It’s easier to say the Mass. It’s easier to work for the poor. The most difficult is to be faithful. Without that one hour, fidelity is impossible,” the Argentine priest stressed.
It is in this way, he added, that the Presence—Christ’s Presence—in the Eucharist, gives meaning to the presence of a priest in his parish.
“I give Him away to my people. If that circle is cut it’s a disaster. And we priests know that it is a disaster because we experience times of ‘brownout,’ times when we are not connected as we should. And we know how much it affects us,” Felloni noted. (Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCP News)