BY FR. JOSELITO JOPSON
PASIG CITY – Pasig Bis-hop Francisco C. San Diego implored the people to pray for their priests.
Speaking before a multitude of parishioners at the Holy Thursday Chrism mass at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral last March 31, 2010, the Bishop underscored the importance of the role of the priests as highlighted in the Year of the Priests proclaimed by the holy Father, Pope Benedict the XVI, also coinciding with the 150th birth anniversary of the cure of Ars and the patron of parish priests, St. John Marie Vianney.
“(St. John Marie Vianney) tried as a young priest to perform the ministry in the administration of the sacraments, especially the sacrament of penance, which in turn, in hearing confessions to people even from other parishes, many of them became Catholics,” the bishop narrated.
The Bishop reminded the clergy or their role to be “Other Christ.” Quoting from St. John Vianney, “If I will meet a priest and angel, I will first greet the priest. Why? What can the priest do what the angel couldn’t? That is the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.”
The bishop also advised the faithful to call for the priests when there is a dying member of the family.
He also prohibited holding of funeral masses during Sundays. “The Sunday mass is for the living, not for the dead. Funeral masses are not held on Mondays because of the people’s superstitious beliefs,” clarified the bishop.
The summary of the obligation of the priest is “cura animarum”, that is, the care of souls. “The disciples were sent by God to different places to preach the word, so we have to preach and care for souls,” the bishop reminds his priests.
“Why be ashamed? Is it shameful to save souls? That is one way you have a member of the family, call on the priests of the church. Why? He will give the last rite to the sick person to enter to heaven.”
He also reminded the faithful of their responsibility to save souls. “It is necessary for the lay apostolate to save souls. This is what you have neglected. Because when I ask (the lay), ‘Did the deceased receive the last sacrament?’ The common answer is that they are ashamed, because people might think the member will die.”
The mass was attended by all the priests of the diocese of Pasig together with guest priests and the lay people representing the parishes.