40 Augustinian Recollects among the 5,500 participants of the Congress of the Filipino Clergy
The Church in the Philippines held, as a culminating celebration of the Year of the Priest, a national congress of renewal in order to offer new ideas and motives to the Filipino clergy. A figure of a priest who is traditional but is open to modernity is what emerged from the 2nd Congress of the Clergy thatwas concluded last January 28 in Manila.
The priests listened, reflected, prayed and discussed the theme, “Faithfulness of Christ, faithfulness of the priest”, for five days. It was a graced time for the Church in the Philippines to retrace the identity of the priest who is called to be witness of Christ in the present times, and in particular in the Philippines, with all the current problems, challenges and contradictions. From January 25 the congress, which was held retreat style, consisted of prayer and liturgy, conferences, reflection by groups with journaling, and encounter with host families.
The Year of the Priest “offers to all the clergy the possibility of deepening and intensifying discipleship in their following of Christ”.New Technologies
The Internet and the national dailies played very important roles during these days. The people of God followed the development and were enabled to participate in the gathering of their shepherds. The celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation, with more than 5,000 bishops and priests confessing to one another, impressed deeply the general public. Of interest, too, was the frequent mention of the name of Augustine, perhaps, the most quoted father of the church during the second congress of priests.
The Year of the Priest “offers to all the clergy the possibility of deepening and intensifying discipleship in their following of Christ”, Cardinal Hummes emphasized in his talk. The congress underscored the figure of the priest who is attentive to the spiritual needs of the faithful and the sacramental life, most especially, and who at the same time knows how to drink from the “fountain of the Eucharist” for a life of ethical and social commitment that serves as point of reference to the Filipino society, a people in much need of values like honesty, transparency, reconciliation, peace and solidarity. And neither can the priest disregard the call to evangelize even in the digital culture of the Internet, the call that Benedict XVI made very recently. The priest of today prays, listens, dialogues and also writes with the mouse.
Luis Antonio Tagle, Bishop of Imus.Tears
The conclusion of the Second Congress of the Clergy was held at the Cuneta Astrodome, a 15,000-capacity gymnasium located a little more than a kilometer from the World Trade Center. It was a sight to behold, five thousand men in alb and stole in procession from a trade center to a sports arena to encounter the people of God in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, presided by the head of the church in the Philippines, Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales! But more impressive was the post-communion event; the priests on their knees were prayed over by the faithful who stood over their shepherds… tears flowed. Thank you, Holy Spirit!
AUGUST 2009 · WORLD. “Saint Augustine never thought of becoming a Priest”
MARCH 2009 · PHILIPPINES. “The Philippine Church is learning from our communitarian life experience”
SEPTEMBER 2008 · PANAMA. Aníbal Saldaña: “I would like to have more priests and lay people to evangelize Bocas del Toro”
The Figure of the Priest in Saint Augustine Autor: Enrique A. Eguiarte (106 Kb)