Celebrating the Gift of Priesthood through Sacerdotal Anniversaries
These days some priests of the archdiocese celebrated their Sacerdotal Jubilee – Fr. Fidel Bagayaua’s 40th year was held last July 26; Fr. Felix Joal Bernales’ 25th year was last August 11 and Msgr Zosimo Sanado’s 40th year will be on August 16.
Together with the Archbishop and the clergy are the faithful celebrating the gift of priesthood in the Holy Eucharist with the priest-jubilarian. During the mass, the jubilarian renews his priestly vows before the Archbishop.
The priestly ordination, is like a marriage. The person marries into the Church, just as Christ takes the Church as his bride. Often, the church is filled with religious communities, brother priests, seminarians and aspirants, family members, friends, community representatives, sometimes government representatives, and the parish community. Why is it such a highly celebrated affair? Why is it that throngs would flock to a priestly ordination whether one knows the person being ordained or not? Why should we celebrate their anniversaries with equal effort to how we celebrate our marriage anniversaries?
To “marry” Christ is an impalpable experience. Yet, the consummation of the marriage is not an abstract existence. The acts and discipline of faith are seen daily by the person preparing to be received into the priesthood. And it continues long after the Rite of Ordination: by their dress; their speech; their exercise of christian charity; the kind of prayers they offer; their missionary service in various communities (e.g. schools, hospitals, prisons, nursing homes, institutions, associations etc.); the homilies, lessons, lectures (and books) they prepare and write; their ministering of the Sacraments.
They provide spiritual direction, guidance, and wisdom that have been moulded by hours of prayer and years of study and contemplation. The cliche “pray about it” is often prescribed for life’s debilitating anxieties, but it is a necessary reminder and a worthy exercise of supplication and submission.
Being a priest is not a job or fulfilling an employment contract but is a gift from God that should be contemplated and treasured as such, Pope Francis said.
Those who turn ordained ministry into an occupation “lose the heart of the ministry, lose the gaze of Jesus who looked upon all of us and told us, ‘Follow me,’” Pope Francis said.
The faithful are urged to pray constantly for the priests as they continue to minister the flock entrusted to them. As we pray for them, we give our support and solidarity by virtue of our common priesthood received through baptism. -cccomnews