‘Support network’ for priests launched
Catechists from St. John of Sahagun Parish in Tigbauan, Iloilo pray for their parish priest, Fr. Joel Lena. PAUL SOBERANO
By Fr. Mickey Cardenas
March 19, 2018
Instead of placards, streamers, or marching bands, a group of lay people serving in different capacities in parish communities and ministries in the Archdiocese of Jaro are committing themselves to a system of supporting priests to manifest their gratitude and love for them, especially during the Year of the Clergy and of Consecrated Persons.
“This initiative came about as various lay persons discussed ways in which we can, in our own little way and according to our vocation as laity in the Church, do our part for the Year of the Clergy and of Consecrated Persons,” said the group’s convenor, Paul Soberano of St. Juan de Sahagun Parish in Tigbauan, Iloilo, and a member of the Jaro Archdiocesan Pastoral Secretariat (JAPS)
Laity’s role in the Year of the Clergy
According to him, the group’s first task is to pray for members of the clergy.
“Mindful of the daily difficulties and struggles of priests in the exercise of their ministry, committing ourselves to pray for them came out foremost among our resolutions,” explained Soberano.
The group’s convenor identified the following activities which the rest of the lay faithful may actively participate in:
- Organize regular prayer circles in the parishes to encourage the faithful to pray and to offer sacrifices for priests;
- Offer Mass intentions and Holy Communion for priests, especially on Thursdays, the day of the week on which the institution of the sacrament of Holy Orders is commemorated;
- In coordination with the parish priest and the parish councils, facilitate at least one Eucharistic adoration during the Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons and offer it specifically for the sanctification and renewal of the priests;
- Write a letter or make a spiritual bouquet for the priests in the parish or vicariate to express gratitude to them as pastors and to let them know that they are being prayed for;
- Facilitate the celebration of Priests’ Day in the parish to coincide with the parish priest’s birthday or sacerdotal anniversary, or the feast day of St. John Marie Vianney, the patron saint of priests;
- Organize a parish or group visitation to the St. John Marie Vianney Center for retired and sick priests of the Archdiocese.
Spreading to more parishes
The initiative, which started in February, now has regular prayer circles in at least 54 different parishes with lay people actively praying for priests and offering Thursday Mass intentions for them.
“We hope to reach out to other parishes in the Archdiocese of Jaro and jump-start an active consciousness among lay people on the need to gather regularly as a community to pray for ‘renewed servant leaders for the New Evangelization’,” added Soberano.
Going beyond the Year of the Clergy
According to him, many of the prayer circles have even pledged to continue the regular Eucharistic Adoration and prayer for priests, especially in the Holy Mass even beyond the Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons.
People interested in joining this initiative, even those outside the geographical boundaries of the Archdiocese of Jaro, including those staying overseas, may visit or follow the Road To Emmaüs (Lay Catechetical Formation) Facebook page for regular updates.