New priests ordained on Zamboanga’s 107th anniv
ZAMBOANGA CITY—Three new priests have been added to the roster of Zamboanga clergy as the archdiocese celebrated its 107th anniversary recently.
Archbishop of Zamboanga Romulo T. Dela Cruz ordained a fresh batch of priests in time for the Holy Week and the celebration of the anniversary of Mindanao’s first diocese.
The prelate said the pre-Holy Week ordination is “very timely” as the new priests will be of much help in administering the Sacraments.
“We are happy to have three new priests,” the bishop said referring to Fr. Philip Balagon, Fr. Bernie Edayan, and Fr. Armand Aquino who were ordained at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral on April 10.
April 10 is also the day when Zamboanga became a separate diocese from Cebu in 1910, becoming the mother diocese of Mindanao, the first of 20 other dioceses on the island.
Edayan and Aquino are both graduates of the St. Francis Xavier Regional Major Seminary of Mindanao while Balagon is a former religious from the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, who has decided to go back to his home diocese and work as a diocesan priest.
“Impart to everyone the Word of God that you have received with joy. Teach what you believe,” said the prelate.
The archbishop also reminded them that priesthood calls them to serve and not to be served.
Gift to the Church
In their message of thanks, Balagon who represented the two newly-ordained said they are all thankful to their respective families for offering them in the service of the Church.
“You will always be our first family. Pray for us that we may become holy, loyal, and committed priests,” he said as he also thanked the archbishop for giving them the chance to serve in the archdiocese and their fellow priests whom they consider their new family.
“Thank you for keeping our feet on the ground,” Balagon told the priests who concelebrated.
Meanwhile, the archbishop awarded a plaque of appreciation to the families of the newly-ordained for their contribution to the local church of Zamboanga.
Lives changed forever
During the thanksgiving Mass of Aquino in the afternoon, his parish priest Fr. Ferdinand Candido, who served as homilist, said that with the laying on of hands, the lives of the new priests are changed forever.
“His life changed forever. He did not change for himself but for the people,” he said.
“Your vocation is a gift from God. God chose to become a priest so love your vocation more than anything else,” stressed Candido.
The parish priest of the Our Lady of the Purification Parish in Zamboanga City, where Aquino grew up, said that not all are given this kind of vocation and they have to remain humble always.
“Bring more sheep back to the Church and in shepherding, make your ministry a life-long ministry,” he said. “Love your priesthood until death.” CBCPNews