Seminarians told: ‘Be frank with your bishop’
By Minnie Agdeppa
Jan. 4, 2019
Lagro, Quezon City
A local prelate emphasized the need for transparency between priests, seminarians, and their bishop, during a Christmas party held at the Visitation of Our Lady Parish in this city on Dec. 27, 2018.
“You know, be frank with your bishop,” said Novaliches Bishop Antonio R. Tobias, DD in his homily during the Eucharistic celebration that jumpstarted the Seminarians of Novaliches Diocese (SEND) and Parents of the Seminarians of Novaliches Diocese (PASEND) Christmas Party. “The bishop should know,” he added.
According to the prelate, if there is one thing he would like to leave his seminarians, it is frankness.
In preparation for his departure from the diocese, he shared that he is conducting a series of exit interviews with members of his clergy, guest priests, and seminarians. He highlighted that seminarians are normally afraid during the said interview.
“But you have to practice learning to be frank [with] your own bishop,” he stressed. “Where you are not afraid to show your true colors.”
According to Tobias, the seminarians should start developing the habit of talking candidly with their bishop as early as possible.
Learning to be secretive
“This is not practiced when you are a priest already. It is being practiced even when you are at home. How frank [are you] with your parents?” he asked some 20 seminarians present.
Tobias noted that that children normally learn to be secretive with their parents when they start going to school. Peers tell them keep their parents from knowing what they did in school.
“When you go to school, you start to learn how to hide because of your barkada, ‘Don’t tell what we did!’ Then, that’s it! You start to hide and put on a mask,” he explained.
The prelate said how a seminarian relates to his father is a manifestation of how he will deal with his bishop. Thus, when a seminarian “learns to be secretive”, he does not show his “true colors”.
“Whether you like it or not–when your parents are gone and you are on your own–the bishop will be the one to help solve your problem [during crisis]. That is my experience,” he revealed.
Tobias said he has often told formators not “to threaten” seminarians for it will only make them more secretive.
The SEND-PASEND Christmas Party is an annual event held to nurture ties among seminarians, their parents, and the bishop.