Advent and Christmas 2021
Message to Priests
My Brother Priests,
We are about to enter the solemn days of Simbang Gabi! We feel the heightened festive mood of Christmas even though we are still in the midst of the Covid pandemic. As pastors we are all excited to celebrate with our flock the Simbang Gabi Masses. We are busy preparing the liturgy for a meaningful and spirit- filled celebration. Yes, our parishes and communities deserve a Simbang Gabi celebration that will spiritually prepare them for Christmas.
As pastors we play a crucial and important role in preparing our flock for Christmas. Our homilies must strengthen them during this time of difficulties. Let our warm welcome to them in our parishes make them truly feel they BELONG to our communities. Our priestly presence as we preside at the Simbang Gabi Masses should reflect Jesus the Good Shepherd, Jesus the Teacher, Jesus the Kind and Merciful co-traveller, and Jesus the abiding Love of God the Father.
My bother priests, in the many concerns and preparations you do, never neglect your OWN spiritual preparations. Devote quality time for personal silence, solitude, meditation and prayer. Our personal spiritual preparation is the BEST gift we can give to our faithful.
Simbang Gabi is an opportune time to renew our love and ministry to the poor in our parishes. The Holy Family is a poor family, yet they are rich in love and attention for each other. Let us draw inspiration from the love and caring attention of the Holy Family. This Simbang Gabi, let us give more attention to our poor children, to our poor brothers and sisters. As pastors, let us brighten their Simbang Gabi and their Christmas.
Be assured of my prayers and fraternal accompaniment with you in your pastoral works ahead. Please convey my deep gratitude, prayers and encouragement to your PPCs and to all those assisting you for the Simbang Gabi and Christmas celebrations.
Together, let us proclaim the birth of our Saviour, and give Glory to God! “Gloria in Excelcis Deo!”
God bless you my esteemed priests!
ROLANDO J. TRIA TIRONA, OCD., D.D.
Archbishop of Caceres
December 15, 2021