QUEZON City, March 15, 2015—For a priest from the Military Ordinariate of the Philippines, the country’s uniformed men and women can only be “agents of peace” if he or she lives a life of faith coupled with prayer.
In a recent interview, Msgr. Tirso A. Dolina, head of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)’s Chaplain Service, told Church-run Radyo Veritas there is nothing like these two “spiritual weapons” with which to arm the country’s military and police personnel so that they can carry out their duties more effectively, especially in quelling the “culture of violence” that has perennially set back economic progress in Mindanao.
According to him, the Military Ordinariate has programs that specifically respond to the spiritual needs of its flock, most of which members of the Philippine military and police forces.
Mass amid war
Donila shared he and many other fellow clerics regularly hold Mass in different AFP camps nationwide, particularly in the ones sitting right in the middle of conflict.
The chaplain stressed a person of deep faith and strong prayer life can stand his ground against sowers of discord, reminding Filipino soldiers and cops that only with the help of these can they become agents and defenders of peace.
The Military Ordinariate of the Philippines is the Roman Catholic diocese for AFP, the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG, Bureau of Fire and Protection (BFP), Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), and the Veterans’ Memorial Medical Center (VMMC).
Unlike regular episcopal sees, the Military Ordinariate is non-territorial given that its jurisdiction covers all military personnel, their dependents, as well as civilian employees of all branches of the armed forces.
Its titular patron is the Immaculate Conception since its foundation date coincides with the Marian feast, while its secondary patrons are St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. John Capistran, two well-known Catholic “soldier-saints.”
Its current chief pastor is Bishop Leopoldo S. Tumulak. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)