Caceres clergy holds Lenten recollection in small groups

By Myrna Bermudo


Most Rev. Rex Andrew C. Alarcon, D.D., Bishop of Daet, led the two -day recollection of the Caceres clergy with the theme: Recall, Recover, and Resolve.


Organized by the Commission on On-Going Formation of Clergy in the Archdiocese of Caceres, the clergy gathered for a Lenten recollection on February 24 to 25 and 26 to 27, 2021. Due to Covid-19 health protocols which forbid big gatherings, the clergy were clustered by vicariate. A vicariate is a group of parishes clustered geographically. Currently, the Archdiocese has 14 vicariates.


On February 24 to 25, the first batch of clergy from the Rinconada area gathered for a face-to-face recollection with Bishop Alarcon at the Lay Formation Institute, Peñafrancia Basilica Compound. They constitute sixteen (16) priests from the Sts. Raphael and Francis Vicariates. The rest of the groups in the first batch attended through livestreaming while they remained at venues assigned to them.

Priests from the Vicariates of St. Raphael the Archangel and St. Francis of Assisi in Rinconada area gather for a face-to-face Lenten Recollection with Daet Bishop Rex Andrew C. Alarcon, D.D. at the Lay Formation Institute, Peñafrancia Basilica Compound, Naga City. Held on February 23-24, 2021, the group was composed of sixteen priests only. The rest of the Caceres clergy hold sessions in the venues assigned to their vicariate. Due to the pandemic’s restriction to gather in big groups, priests assembled in small groups. (/MB Photo: Mayo Cesar Herrera)


Nine (9) priests from St. Bartholomew Vicariate gathered at the Sisters of the Sacred Heart Formation Center in Pacol, Naga City; 15 priests from Sts. Anne and Anthony Vicariates assembled at the big classroom at the Holy Rosary Major Seminary; 15 from the Vicariates of Holy Cross and Perpetual Help joined together at the new building hall of the Major Seminary. Meanwhile, 16 priests stayed at the Mater Ecclesiae Renewal Center in Pili, Camarines Sur.


For the second batch of clergy, the Lenten recollection was held on February 25 to 26. Following health protocols, 16 priests from Peñafrancia Vicariate assembled face-to-face with Bishop Alarcon at the hall of the new building in the Major Seminary. Other clustered groups of priests listened to the Lenten lectures at assigned venues via live streaming. Fourteen (14) priests from St. John the Baptist Vicariate occupied the big classroom of the Major Seminary; 14 priests from St. John the Evangelist Vicariate were at the Holy Rosary Minor Seminary; 15 priests from Peñafrancia and St. John Vicariates occupied the Lay Formation Institute; 17 priests from Sts. Michael and Claire Vicariates gathered at the Mater Ecclesiae Renewal Center, Pili, Camarines Sur.


“I was able to attend the face-to-face Lenten recollection. What I want to say is this: Let us not allow this pandemic to hinder our Lenten observance. Since gathering of big groups is being discouraged, we can divide into smaller groups. We can also make use of technology through an online kind of recollection,” says Fr. Mayo Cesar Herrera on their Lenten recollection. He is the parish priest of St. Vincent Ferrer Parish, San Vicente, Buhi, Camarines Sur. He attended the face-to-face Lenten recollection together with the first batch.


Looking back at the recollection amid pandemic “most of the clergy were able to see and hear Bishop Alarcon, some had encountered difficulties due to signal glitches when the signal was lost, insufficiency of equipment or technology. Moreover, clustering into vicarial groups enhanced their bonding,” says Fr. Fidel Bagayaua, one of the organizers.


Before the pandemic, the Caceres clergy had their yearly retreat on November 11 to 15 2019 at St. Paul Renewal Center in Alfonso, Cavite. The scheduled yearly retreat of the clergy on 2020 was canceled due to Covid-19 restrictions. For most of the priests, the 2021 Lenten recollection was a welcome occasion for spiritual renewal amid Covid-19.