Challenging priests to rethink their purpose and identity, Lingayen – Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said priests should inspire gratitude in others.
The prelate, who gave the homily during the Chrism Mass on March 29, Thursday, said priesthood is beyond fundraising, building churches, sending scholars to schools, and preaching good homilies.
“Let our giftedness lead our people to gratitude. When they remember us, may they give thanks!,” said Villegas.
Inspired to give thanks
According to him, if priests are true to who they are, they will become a reason for people and communities to be “a constantly grateful people.”
“May the gift that we are lead others to gratitude! May the gratitude we sow lead them to generosity and may that generosity we inspire open the paths to endless growth! May the gift of our priesthood make our people holy!”
The former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) challenged clergy members of the archdiocese to examine how they affect people.
“You, brother priests, are God’s gift to His people. When they see us, do they really thank the Lord? Does our giftedness lead our parishioners to say ‘Salamat sa Diyos’? Are they happy to see us? Are they inspired to be with us? All of them? All of us? Always?,” said Villegas.
Knowing that the answers to these questions would not always be in the affirmative, he apologized for priests’ shortcomings and defects, stressing the importance of the laity and the clergy’s journey together.
“My dear people of God, look at us your priests. We are the gifts of God to you in spite of us. Pasensiya na kayo sa amin! You are the gifts of God to us. With you we give thanks,” said Villegas.
He added: “With you we want to grow. People of God, your priests love you. Let us be grateful and generous and faithful saints together.”
As part of the Easter Triduum, the faithful commemorate the institution of the priesthood and the Holy Eucharist on Maundy Thursday. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz/CBCPNews)