Without the Holy Spirit, we are nothing

Without the Holy Spirit, we are nothing

Dateline: San Diego, California:  In his latest General Audience at St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis reflected on the Sacrament of Confirmation which “confirms” the grace of Baptism. He talked about the importance of the Holy Spirit in our everyday life. He said “only the Spirit of Christ can make us ‘salt that gives taste’ and ‘light that illuminates the world’ It is during Confirmation that we are anointed with Chrism, we are given the great gift of the Holy Spirit, so that we can bear witness to Christ before the world.” Chrism is the oil mixed with perfume that has been consecrated by the bishop during Chrism Mass in the morning of Maundy Thursday.

Pope Francis catechized that with Baptism, we are reborn to new life while with Confirmation we are given the strength to go forward as Christians. Thus, “without the strength of the Holy Spirit we can do nothing: it is the Spirit that gives us the strength to move forward. It is God’s great gift to us. It is in our heart and in our soul, and it guides us in life so that we may become salt and light of the world.”

The Pope further said that “during Confirmation it is Christ who fills us with his Spirit and makes us sharers of his own life and mission, in accordance to God’s saving plan. To be true Christians, we must take an active role in fulfilling the Church’s mission in the world.”

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Most Rev. Pablo Virgilio S. David, Bishop of Kalookan, ordained two (2) new priests in the Diocese: Rev. Jay Arvin De Leon and Rev. Rene Richard Bernardo. In his homily, Bishop David said that kenosis is a lifetime discipline; it is emptying of oneself so that Jesus will appear, talk and act through us”. He stated that to follow Jesus, one must prepare to be in danger, be denied and be crucified like Him. Jesus said “you are not my slave but my friend. No love is greater than be ready to offer one’s life for his friend”.

A Deacon was also ordained in the person of Rev. Philippe Angelo Garcia. It is by the grace of God that two priests and a deacon were ordained in the Diocese of Kalookan during the Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons. It is the theme of the 6th year in our 9 years journey to Year 2021, the 500th year of Christianity in the Philippines. It was in March 1521 when the First Mass was celebrated in the Philippines and the first sacrament of baptism was held. Congratulations Fr. Richard, Fr. Jay-Ar and Rev. Angelo!

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The item in CBCP News caught my attention. It says “Hagonoy’s 116th priest-son celebrates thanksgiving Mass.” Rev. Fr. Niňo Jomel Halili De Leon had his Thanksgiving Mass in our parish church, The National Shrine of St. Anne. Fr. De Leon had his secondary and priestly religious formation at the Immaculate Conception Seminary (Minor) and the Immaculate Conception Major Seminary in Guiguinto, Bulacan.

He stated in his homily what a true servant of God is: “Love must be expressed. It’s not just about words. It’s about imitating Jesus with one’s actions. God’s love is not choosy. He loves everyone. The Holy Spirit comes in his special way to each of us because you are preciously loved.”  Fr. De Leon is the latest to be member of the Sacrament of Holy Orders in Hagonoy, together with Msgr. Sabino Vengco, Jr.. Having been born in Hagonoy, Bulacan, I am very proud that despite the scarcity of producing priests, my hometown continues to contribute members of the priesthood. Congratulations Fr. Niňo!

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In a week’s time, two bishops passed on: Bishop Jose Oliveros of the Diocese of Malolos and Bishop Camilo Gregorio, Bishop Emeritus of the Prelature of Batanes. Eternal rest  grant unto them oh Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace, Amen.

Following the death of Bishop Oliveros, Pope Francis appointed Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of the Diocese of Cubao as the Apostolic Administrator of Malolos. His appointment includes “all the faculties and rights to exercise the office of a diocesan bishop.” The current bishop of Batanes is Bishop Danilo Ulep.

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Happy Birthday to my brother Benito Santiago Jr. Happy 101st Birthday of my mother Gloria Santiago in Heaven.