ORLANDO, Florida, Nov. 6, 2014—Some 800 Filipino priests are taking part in the ongoing Second National Assembly of Filipino Priests (NAFP) in Orlando, Florida, USA.
The event kicked off in Nov. 4, and will run until Nov. 7.
According to Fr. Gregory Ramón D. Gaston, one of the attendees, the annual meet up aims to strengthen the missionary spirit of Filipino priests, to foster unity and solidarity among them, as well as to promote NAFP’s various programs for spiritual enrichment.
Gaston, who is also the rector of the Pontificio Collegio Filippino (Pontifical Filipino College) in Rome, Italy told Church-run Radyo Veritas that the pastoral formation also allows Filipino priests to learn from one another and to make them more effective ministers of the New Evangelization.
Also among those present in the assembly are Archbishop Orlando B. Cardinal Quevedo of Cotabato; Bishop Oscar A. Solis of San José, Nueva Ecija; and Archbishop Bernardito C. Auza, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See in the United Nations (UN), and an auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, California.
Meanwhile, in an earlier news report, Gaston shared that the Filipino community in Rome express delight that the Philippines has been chosen to host Pope Francis and to receive personal blessings from him.
“We are glad and proud that the Pope is coming to the Philippines. Although we here in Rome get to see the Holy Father almost thrice a week, there’s still nothing like the honor an actual visit from him will bring to Filipinos,” the priest was quoted as saying.
While no certain information on the papal visit has reached them yet, Gaston confirmed that Vatican officials in charge of His Holiness’ overseas trips are set to return to the Philippines soon to check on the status of local preparations.
The Argentinian pontiff is scheduled for a Philippine trip on Jan. 15 to 19, 2015.
He will be the third pope to visit Asia’s largest Christian nation with over 80 percent of the total population Catholics. (Raymond A. Sebastián)