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Archbishop to seminarians: Let your light shine

By Myrna S. Bermudo

In his homily during the End of Formation Year Completion at the Holy Rosary Minor Seminary (HRMS), newly installed Caceres Archbishop Rex Andrew C. Alarcon, DD, offered reflections on virtues inculcated in seminary formation. “Three things that I would like to remind us all. Maybe we can consider these things that we have learned. But also things that the seminary and the formators has helped us to develop.”

Speaking to 22 graduates with their parents, the formators and the seminary community on May 17, the Archbishop urged the seminarians to hone their independence, discipline and resilience as young men preparing for priesthood.

During the gathering, 14 seminarians were invested with their cassock. Recalling his own investiture forty years ago in the same HRMS chapel, he said that being independent was one of the first things a seminarian must learn as they were expected to do things on their own when following the Seminary routine.

He said that making friends with co-seminarians and kababayans or ‘sano’ allows one to survive seminary life. “It is my prayer and my hope that it is not only independence that you have developed but inter-dependence. We depend on each other. We cannot live on our own, by our own,” he added.

Highlighting the Gospel narrative where Jesus asked Peter: ‘Do you love me?” and Peter replied: “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you,”  the Archbishop reminded everyone that when Jesus said “Feed my sheep,” it meant that people live not only for themselves but they live with and for others.

“Feed my sheep: that is the path of the Lord, to care for others, to be for others. So that we study, we hone our talents  not only for ourselves, we become better persons not only for ourselves but also for others and for God, “ said the Archbishop.

“Discipline is critical in seminary formation. We want discipline,” he continued. “Not only because we want to be gentlemen, to behave as gentlemen. But also because discipline is the path to mastery, to self- discipline. Ang malalim na disiplina ay iyong nakikita ang inner directiveness, inner drive. Nagsusunod ka sa rules because of your freedom. Freedom is deepened by study and by discipline, so that we move to what we call self-discipline. And this is important in the ministry.”

“The magnitude of the 21st century could cripple us.” For this reason, he said, it is important to welcome trials and difficulties so seminarians could become resilient.

Inviting the seminarians and the parents to be thankful for the years of study in the Seminary, he said that the Seminary is the perfect place to develop perseverance and grit. He also emphasised the nurturing of the faith which pushes a person to step forward. “The daily prayer, daily mass, holy hour and the faith sharing. That gift of faith has been nurtured here through the daily spiritual routine.”

Addressing the parents, he said: “Dear parents, you have entrusted your children to a privileged study.  Continue to guide them. We congratulate you. We continue to walk together. Synodality, we are called to be a people of God.”

Fr. Francis Tordilla, the rector of the Holy Rosary Minor Seminary, presented to Archbishop Alarcon 14 candidates for investiture of the cassock saying “they have been prepared and were found worthy to wear the sacred cassock, a symbol of their desire to respond to God’s call, (as) priests in the future.”

During the rite of investiture, the candidates signified their response by coming forward.

Alarcon concluded by giving his admonition “Rejoice in hope. Be patient in affliction. Persevere in prayer. (Romans 12:12)

The Holy Rosary Minor Seminary Class of Formation Year 2023-2024 with Most Rev. Rex Andrew C. Alarcon, D. D., Archbishop of Caceres, Fr. Francis Tordilla, seminary rector, their formators and faculty members. (Photo: Holy Rosary Minor Seminary FB page)


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