On Maundy Thursday, April 17, during the celebration of the Chrism Mass and the priests’ renewal of their vows at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Naga City, Caceres Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona, OCD, DD. asked the clergy to remain kind, humble, and loving despite the many evil forces trying to destroy priesthood.
In his homily, Archbishop Tirona challenged them to hang on and to continue to serve by being friends with God. A friend, according to him, is one who is not afraid to open up his heart to Jesus, one who serves with humility, and one who offers himself for others. He also reminded them to be wary and be careful of clericalism, a constant temptation on priests to see priesthood as a power instead of a ministry to be exercised; and of narcissism or the feeling of individualism and self-centeredness manifested through the notion of indispensability, excessive work, and lack of true joy.
In celebration of 2019 as the Year of the Youth, the Archbishop compared the state of being priests to what Pope Francis said about being young. The priests, just like the young people, should always keep a heart that is alive and enflamed to proclaim the word of God; they need to be with others and in fraternity especially with their brother priests so they can reach out to those who feel lonely and isolated; and they need to be strong and open to the spirit even in the face of adversities, trials and insults. As priests, they are mandated to proclaim the compassion and goodness of Jesus so that others may experience the love of God. Before he ended his homily, the Archbishop appealed to all the priests not to disappoint Jesus.
The usual recognition of the jubilarians and the announcement of new clergy assignments, followed after the Mass. (Geraldine Alvina)