PARANAQUE City, Nov. 28, 2016 – “Be priests who have the mind of Christ.”
This was what Archbishop Socrates Villegas, D.D., Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan, urged five newly-ordained Rogationist priests, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Rogationist missionary presence in the Philippines, held at the Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish, Multinational Village, Parañaque City.
In reference to St. Teresa of Avila’s prayer, Villegas vigorously pressed on the five new priests to keep on studying and to never give up on it. He likewise lamented priests who are pious but who lack knowledge which is supposed to enrich their priestly ministry.
Studying adds to holiness
“You have to continue studying even after your philosophy and theology, so that you may have the mind of Christ,” stressed the prelate.
Villegas equally criticized priests who loved money, “To fall in love with women is bad, but to love money is worse.”
Lightening up the mood, Villegas related how priests would look handsome in the eyes of Jesus. “Let Jesus be the one to tell you that you are handsome, not you telling it to yourself.”
He summed up his homily into three points, inviting the newly-ordained priests to have clarity of mind, purity of heart, and generosity in giving.
Villegas ordained the Rogationist deacons Jessel J. Bangoy, Tristan Angelo V. Palado, Welbert Llyd Q. Suarez, Francisco Gringo C. Tagabi, and Sherwin L. Valenzuela into the sacred order of priesthood, on a rainy morning last Saturday. Seminarians, religious, members of the Union of Prayer for Vocations, friends and benefactors came to grace the celebration.
Prior to the ordination Mass, a short tribute program was organized in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Rogationist missionary presence in the Philippines. The Provincial Superior of the Rogationist St. Matthew Province, Fr. Herman G. Abcede, RCJ, opened its year-long celebration. Likewise, the official prayer, logo, and theme song for the celebration was recited, unveiled and presented, respectively.
In behalf of the newly-ordained priests, Fr. Francisco Gringo Tagabi delivered a thanksgiving message to all those who have been part of their vocation journey to priesthood. Speaking to a crowd of about 500, Tagabi shared how people offered to help them as they neared the day of their priestly consecration.
There were about 30 concelebrating priests who attended the sacred rites.
Both Bangoy and Suarez hail from Surigao del Sur, Palado from Ilocos Sur, Tagabi from Cagayan, and Valenzuela from North Cotabato. They will have their respective thanksgiving Masses in the coming weeks.
40 years of missionary presence
The Sacred Ordination Rites on that day was chosen to be the highlight in the celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Rogationist Missionary Presence in the Philippines.
The program before the Rites gave a hint to the faithful present how the seed of Rogationist missions developed through the years.
In the unveiling of the logo, the journey of the Rogationist presence in the Philippines was expressed in the symbol of a boat amid the waves with a hoist and anchor forming a Rogationist cross with 19 rays on top. The sail displayed the image of St. Matthew, patron of the Rogationist Province, whose missionary territories extended towards other parts of Asia and Oceania.
A short video clip also showed the various apostolic initiatives of the Rogationists, such as seminary houses, educational assistance institutions, an urban poor community organizing center, Rogate center, Rogate images, printing press, small clinics, parishes, missionary stations, and retreat houses.
To date, the Province has 19 communities both here and in other parts of Asia-Oceania. It has over 150 professed members, with over 80 priests, 7 deacons, and more than 70 religious students and brothers, both temporarily and perpetually professed.
The Province also regularly sends missionaries to other parts of the world. More than 20 Filipino Rogationist missionaries are actively serving in other countries. In the Philippines, the 120-year old congregation is present in over 10 dioceses.
Founded by St. Hannibal Mary di Francia in March 16, 1896, the Rogationists in the Philippines began their missionary presence on Nov. 23, 1976, with its first missionaries, Fr. Antonio Barbangelo and Fr. Diego Buscio. (Br. John Francis Aberion, RCJ / St. Hannibal Rogate Center/CBCP News)