‘Make the beauty of the Christian faith shine out amidst persecution’

‘Make the beauty of the Christian faith shine out amidst persecution’

Newly ordained priest Fr. Marion Joseph Nebres with Baguio Bishop Victor Bendico and concelebrating priests in Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral on July 23, 2019. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Fr. Mickey Cardenas

July 25, 2019

Baguio City

A Catholic bishop urged the faithful to make the beauty of their Christian faith shine out even in the midst of attacks against the church and other problems besetting the country.

At a priestly ordination at the Baguio Cathedral July 23, Bishop Victor Bendico reminded the faithful to bring forth the Gospel truth.

In particular, he urged newly-ordained Fr. Marion Nebres to make his faith, as God’s servant, be the driving force behind how he engage the country’s situation.

He cited “false accusations” against church leaders, the spate of killings and other threats to human life as among the challenges that the ordinand will have to face.

Taking inspiration from the theme chosen by Nebres himself for the occasion, Bendico invited the new priest and the congregation to reflect on these words of St. Peter, “Whoever serves must serve with the strength that God supplies.” (1 Peter 4:11).

“Time will come when the boat of your priesthood will be shaken by the storms of worldly violence, arrogance, and lies. Time will come when your priestly commitment will be put to test by material things and worldly treasures and by the allurements of authority,” he pointed out to the ordinand.

“Rev. Marion”, the bishop added, “you can find consolation in the words of St. Paul to the Corinthians, “God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength. With the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you will be able to bear it.”

A close friend of Nebres, Fr. Marcs Castañeda, Rector of St. Joseph Church in Kilong Catholic Mission, recalled that the new priest “was once a humble altar boy of Baguio Cathedral and now, as a young priest, he must live according to his chosen theme, ‘Whoever serves must serve with the strength that God supplies.’”

Inspired by the theme, Castañeda, who also composed and designed the ordination song and logo, offered various reasons why young men still respond to the vocation to the priesthood despite “mockery and persecutions hurled against” the church.

“Why? Because we have good model priests in the communities, because the Basic Ecclesial Communities are praying for vocations, because families encourage vocations at home, because God is constantly faithful to his priests and to his flock, and because our churches, despite our human weakness, continue to radiate God’s love,” he said.