MANILA, July 7, 2015—Fr. Antonio “Joy” C. Zabala, Jr. of the Order of Augustinian Recollects (OAR) officially became the new rector and parish priest of the Minor Basilica of San Sebastián (National Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel) in Quiapo following his installation on Sunday, July 5, by no less than Manila Archbishop Luís Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle.
Zabala appealed to his parishioners, saying, “Please do not walk ahead of me, I cannot follow you. Please do not walk behind me I cannot lead. Just walk beside me—kapit kamay, kapit bisig (hand in hand), side by side—together let us journey with one mind and one heart let us ascend towards God.
In the presence of his parents, relatives, friends, confreres, and parishioners, Zabala vowed to be a faithful shepherd to his flock and to give his all in the performance of his priestly duties.
“With great care and fidelity I shall carry out the responsibilities by which I am bound in relation both to the universal Church and to the particular church in which I am called to exercise my service according to the requirements of the law,” he said, taking the “Oath of Fidelity.”
Professing his faith, Zabala affirmed anew that he believes everything contained in God’s Word, “written or handed down in tradition as divinely revealed and called for faith.”
The Recollect priest went on to state he accepts and holds everything the Church proposes definitively in matters of faith and morals.
“What is more, I adhere with religious submission of will and intellect to the teachings which either the Roman pontiff or the college of bishops enunciate when they exercise the authentic Magisterium even if they proclaim those teachings in an act that is not definitive,” he declared.
Zabala took his religious profession on May 4, 1991, and was ordained a priest on Dec. 5, 1995.
Before becoming rector, he was appointed, respectively, as property custodian in 1996 and dean of religious education in 1999 of Sebastián College-Recoletos Manila, and as associate pastor of San Sebastián Parish in 2014.
From 2001 until recently, he also served various parishes in California and New York. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)