Archbishop to new priests: Put the ‘spotlight on Jesus’

Archbishop to new priests: Put the ‘spotlight on Jesus’

Three men lie prostrate for their ordination as priests for the Society of the Divine Word on Feb. 6, 2021. PHOTO COURTESY OF SVD

By CBCP News

February 8, 2021

Manila, Philippines

Ordaining three men to the priesthood, a Catholic archbishop told them that their mission is not to be in the “limelight” but to be the “spotlight” on God.

Priests are called nourish the faithful, Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan said, so they must shine the spotlight to where it should be— Jesus Christ.

And if time comes when light is pointed at them, the archbishop asked them not hesitate to withdraw and fade away if needed.

“You are not called to be celebrities, you are not called to be in the limelight. You are called to be a light pointed to Jesus because you are only a sign,” he said.

It was Villegas’ first ordination with the Society of the Divine Word community since becoming a bishop in 2001, and held at their seminary in Tagaytay City on Feb. 6.

To further his point, he told the ordinandi— two of them are Filipinos and the other a Vietnamese– that they are only disciples and not the master.

“You are only a symbol, you are not the symbolized. You are only a pupil, not the teacher,” Villegas said. “You are only a sign and nothing more.”

As someone older in the ministry, he reminded the new priests who will be soon sent as missionaries to Japan, Mexico and China, that ordination is only the beginning of a journey, not its end.

According to him, there will come a time that “the cross will be heavy,” to the point of even asking questions like, “Is this the life for me?” or “where are you, Lord?”

But even if God knows that they will stumble in the future, the archbishop said that “God whispers to you now, ‘it is forever.'”

“Wherever you go, keep in mind it is the Lord working in your life, living in your life, speaking through you, living in you,” Villegas said.

The newly ordained SVD priests are Fr. Dondon De Guzman, Fr. Thomas Nguyen, and Fr. Germone Tugadi.

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