St. Nicholas, clergy saints, inspiration for ‘Year of Clergy’
Fr. Ericson Josue celebrates Mass. PHOTO TAKEN FROM HIS FB ACCOUNT
MANILA – On the occasion of the feast day of the saint popularly known as “Santa Claus,” a priest and Church historian invited the faithful to seek inspiration from the lives of the bishops and priests venerated for their holiness as a key to achieve the goal of the Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons (YCCP).
“’Renewed servant-leaders for the New Evangelization’ is the goal of the YCCP and for this we are called to ‘follow the example of the Good Shepherd’,” said Fr. Ericson Josue, citing the pastoral exhortation of Davao Archbishop Romulo G. Valles, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
“St. Nicholas of Bari, Bishop of Myra, and other saints like him who served the Church in the care of the faithful, are personifications of the ‘Good Shepherd’ and can serve as inspirations towards the ‘integral renewal of the values, mind-sets, behaviour, and life-styles of the clergy and consecrated persons’,” pointed out the priest.
A holy bishop, not ‘HO, HO, HO’
Far from the mythical and commercialized figure of a jolly fat man in a red suit going around saying “HO, HO, HO,”, the life of St. Nicholas, and the stories that go with it – whether legends or completely true – are examples of living the Gospel, in particular the works of mercy which are “charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities”.
As a case in point, Josue cited the CBCP president’s exhortation that “The clergy and consecrated persons, given their role of leadership in our communities – and who often enjoy privileges and entitlements – should stand up from a comfortable and privileged position to generously and humbly serve.”
“In contrast, St. Nicholas, although he was the only son of wealthy Christian parents, the Church historian said, “lived a frugal lifestyle and showed his concern for the poor and oppressed.”
Not to neglect anyone needing the joy and hope
Josue cited another challenge of the YCCP’s exhortation to the faithful for which St. Nicholas can serve as an inspiration:
“We are careful not to neglect anyone needing the joy and hope that the Gospel brings…”
“The Bishop Nicholas was known to aid a man who had three daughters, but due to his poverty, he could not afford a proper dowry for them. This meant that they would remain unmarried and – in absence of any other possible employment – might end up as victims of prostitution. Concerned for the poor family’s plight, the bishop decided to help them and threw three purses – one for each daughter – filled with gold coins into their house,” Josue related.
“St. Nicholas was also known to visit the whole region to care for the hungry,” the priest added. CBCPNews