Friday, November 12, 2010

Happy 75th Birthday, Bishop Francisco!


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Cardinals Ricardo Vidal and Gaudencio Rosales lead Archbishops, Bishops, and thousands of well-wishers in greeting Pasig Bishop Francisco C. San Diego a Happy 75th birthday at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral last October 10,2010.


BY RANDY ALVEZ

A native of Bulacan who served as Bishop of Palawan and San Pablo Laguna and currently serving as Bishop of Pasig, Most Reverend Francisco C. San Diego celebrated his 75th birthday with a Thanksgiving Mass last October 10, 2010 at 10 in the morning in the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Pasig City.

Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, and CBCP President and Tandag Bishop Nerio Odchimar led the 19 Archbishops and Bishops of the Philippines in gracing the special birthday celebration in honor of the Diamond Jubilarian, His Excellency Bishop Francisco San Diego, together with more than 1,200 guests and well-wishers.
Also present were Pasig City Mayor and Mrs. Bobby and Maribel Eusebio, Pateros Mayor and Mrs. Joey Medina, Lone District of Pasig Representative Roman Romulo and other government officials, Priests, Religious Brothers and Sisters, relatives and friends of Bishop San Diego and parishioners of the Diocese of Pasig.

After the Eucharistic Celebration, a reception program dubbed “A Gift of Life, a Gift of Ministry, a Gift to the Church” was later held at the Pasig Catholic College grounds.

Only faith in Jesus can save

In a homily delivered by His Eminence Cardinal Vidal, he underscored San Diego’s loyalty to the Gospel, marking him as a servant of God. “With the length of years God has given him, he has also returned to the Lord with fidelity for his service to the Church. We must return to the Lord for every good gift we have received and acknowledge His goodness. A grateful heart is also a joyful heart…also steadfast in faith…” explained Cardinal Vidal.

“Only one of the ten lepers came back to thank the Lord. As Bishop San Diego gives thanks to the Lord, so must you. Laity and Religious of Pasig, give thanks for the gift of a Pastor who is truly after the Lord’s heart. As the first Bishop of Pasig, he ministers to you…with your help and with the grace of God, he endured all the birth pangs of a newly created community. As he turns 75, he marks a milestone with you…like Isaac son of Abraham, you came forth from the loins of an old man and your birth is a sign that with God nothing is impossible,” he added.

The Archbishop of Cebu’s final words: “God’s message cannot be chained. Let us mark it well that God’s law cannot be limited to only those who believe in Him. For those who do not believe are still subject to the law of God…God’s eternal law governs the whole universe…civil laws must therefore reflect what is just and righteous in the eyes of God. For it cannot be that the atoms and the universe obey the will of God but not governments and human beings. Perhaps we have been shouting at each other so loudly that we do not hear what God is saying…Nawa’y mag-umapaw at magbunga nang masagana ang pagpapala ng Panginoong Diyos sa pamamagitan ng Birhen Maria ng Immaculada Concepcion na Patrona ng Cathedral at ng buong bansa. Bendisyon para sa ating lahat sa Diamond Jubilarian, His Excellency Bishop Francisco San Diego. Ad Multus AƱos, kapatid!”

Before the Mass ended, Bishop San Diego delivered his thanksgiving speech.

“I don’t know how to thank God… first for giving me life and second for giving me the grace of the priesthood…But still not only the gift of the priesthood but the gift to be one of the successors of the Apostles… Of course, this is my last journey in serving God as Ordinary of a Diocese. And I’m thankful to all my cooperators in the Diocese, my beloved Priests. And I cannot imitate Archbishop Soc when he said he has the best priests, the priests of Dagupan. I don’t like to tell a lie but I would like to say that my priests love me and also I love them. That is all and I hope that we will still continue loving each other and we will not divorce each other. I also thank everybody especially those who prayed for me when I was in the point of death twice. Still God extended my life. And now I thank you for sharing with me your time especially the two Cardinals. To Cardinal Vidal who had known me when I was still in my short pants in the seminary and also to my Father in the Metropolitan, Cardinal Rosales for giving his time to be with me in my 75th birthday celebration, thank you to all of you.

And finally before I end, I would like to thank my father and my mother wherever they are now because I owe them since they were the ones used as instruments why I am here now. Thank you Lord! I hope you give me the opportunity to rest in the service when time comes. Thank you to all of you. May God bless you!”

The success of this momentous event in the life of the first Bishop of Pasig, Bishop Francisco C. San Diego which will forever form part of the history of the Diocese of Pasig was made possible by the joint efforts of the Council of the Laity in cooperation with the Liturgical Ministry of the Diocese of Pasig.