Priests urged to have ‘lifestyle check’
San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, chairman of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Seminaries, gives the final talk of the National Discernment of Priests on their Prophetic Role held at the Maryhill School of Theology in Quezon City, March 8, 2018. NICO BALBEDINA
By Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz
March 9, 2018
While the highest personal integrity and spiritual maturity is often expected of priests, they are often left to their own devices.
This is why a bishop recently called on his fellow priests to do their own “lifestyle check” to see how their mission to be “alter Christus” is lived out in their daily lives.
Speaking to some 120 priests at the National Discernment of Priests on their Prophetic Role organized by the National Clergy Discernment Group. San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza asked the priests to examine their day-to-day activities and how much time and resources they devote to “cultic, prophetic, administrative” activities.
Prophetic, cultic, administrative
According to the him, cultic activities are administering of the sacraments, house blessings, etc, while prophetic activities include helping the needy through organizing livelihood projects or cooperatives, helping resolve conflict situations, violations of justice, human rights cases, and the like. Administrative work involves fundraising for church needs, doing church repairs, and beautification.
Alminaza asked the members of the clergy to check as well how they socialize and with whom.
“How many of our friends are among the rich, the middle class, the poor? … How many houses of the poor have we visited? … What socializing activities do I engage in? In what places and with whom? … Which places do we frequent for rest and recreation?” asked the prelate during his talk on “Perspectives and Direction to the Ongoing Formation of the Clergy” on March 7 at the Maryhill School of Theology.
Priests’ finances, phone, and more
The chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Seminaries also brought up the question of finances and priests’ “own blood family affairs.”
“How much of the people’s money do I spend for the education of my nephews, nieces?,” he asked.
Even the priest’s choice of gadgets should be scrutinized. “Are we satisfied with a workable phone or should I have the latest Blackberry or iPhone?” asked the prelate.
Giving the last talk for the 2-day event that focused on the clergy’s discernment on several key issues including Charter Change and extra-judicial killings (EJKs), Alminaza noted how much a priest’s monthly financial statement reveals.
“For me, every month, a financial statement is a spiritual document. It reveals my values, my priorities… Does it (money) go to food, recreation, to helping somebody?” he said.
Aside from seminary and priestly formation, the gathering also focused on EJKs, Charter Change, the CBCP’s declaration of 2018 as the Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons, the 6th year celebration of the Church in the Philippines’ 9-year “spiritual journey” towards 2021, the 500th year after the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines.