Kidapawan bishop to new priests: ‘Walk with your people’

Kidapawan bishop to new priests: ‘Walk with your people’

Bishop of Kidapawan Jose Colin Bagaforo ordained two new priests of the diocese, April 4, at Mary Mediatrix of All Grace Cathedral in Kidapawan City. This is also the first time Bagaforo ordained priests since heading the Diocese of Kidapawan in July 2016. BRENDA P. MILAN

KIDAPAWAN City — Priests should live a life close to their people – just like Jesus did.

This is what the new bishop of the Diocese of Kidapawan told the first batch of priests under his leadership, in a ceremony held at the Mary Mediatrix of All Grace Cathedral April 4.

“Be with your people,” Bagaforo told the new priests, Fr. Rodel Balansag and Fr. Phillip Edward Bernaldez, who are graduates of St. Francis Xavier Regional Major Seminary of Mindanao in Davao City.

Quoting the famous line of Canadian professor Marshall McLuhan, the bishop said priests should always remind themselves that “the medium is the message”, adding that the priests should be “Christ to others.”

The bishop also said being priests means to serve and not to be served.

After His own heart

In his homily, Bagaforo also said that Christ will give His people “shepherds after His own heart”, which is also the message of then Pope St. John Paul II’s 1992 apostolic exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis.

Prior to Bagaforo’s appointment, the Diocese of Kidapawan had no shepherd for more than two years, since the time Archbishop Romulo T. Dela Cruz, his predecessor, was assigned to Zamboanga in 2014.

Pope Francis appointed Bagaforo as 6th bishop of Kidapawan on July 25, 2016.

‘Thankful to God’

Meanwhile, after the ordination rites and Eucharistic celebration, assignments for the two new priests were given.

Balansag is assigned as resident priest of the Bishop’s Residence and at the same time, assistant to parishes needing assistsance while Bernaldez is assigned as parochial vicar of the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Arakan, North Cotabato.

“My heart thanks the Lord for he has done great things for me,” Balansag said in his thanksgiving message.

For his part, Bernaldez said he wanted to thank those who helped him during trying times, specially his parents who offered him to the Church to be a priest.

Both priests thanked their bishop, the priests, their families, and the people who were instrumental in their priestly formation. CBCPNews