PALO, Leyte, Dec. 11, 2015 – A prelate’s advice to new priests could well extend to lay people as well: don’t by misled how people treat you.
“Do not be blinded by these privileges, they are just externals,” warned Palo Archbishop John Forrosuelo Du, reminding five newly-ordained priests further, “The big responsibility is on you. Do not be misled.”
Although their priestly idealism and fear of God are vouched by their spiritual advisers and mentors, the prelate cautioned them not to be blinded by the special treatment they will be often be given as well as by the opposite sex’ admiration for them.
Du instead reminded them to become “alter Christus and [to] remain humble.”
The Archdiocese of Palo welcomed on Dec. 9 five new priests who will be assigned to different parishes.
He stressed that what they are now is not their choice but that “by God’s mercy (they) were chosen” to be bearers of Christ.
Having received such mercy, Du exhorted them to “accept that we are just bearers,” underscoring the presbyterial mission to make “people come to know God and bring them closer to God.”
The greater challenge he posed is about having an integrated personal and priestly identity, explaining, for example, that women admire them because they see Christ in the person of the priests.
“Your identity must be centered in Christ and the Eucharist,” according to Du, a Marian devotee.
Being holy first
“Help (the people) become holy but before you do that, you must be holy. If there is someone who is most understanding and most prayerful in the parish, it is you,” he reminded all the priests in his homily during the presbyterial ordination.
He said the priests’ pastoral ministry should be the fruit of their prayer, making sure that the Word of God “must uplift the people” and together with the Eucharist be a source of comfort, inspiration, and hope for the hopeless.
The clergy in the Archdiocese of Palo are constantly undergoing formation. So far, no cleric has been reported ito have been involved in issues that are contrary to Catholic teachings or Canon law. (Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros / CBCP News)