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One Church. One Mission. One Priesthood.
Tuesday, July 10, 2018

“EVANGELIZATION is more effective when it is carried out with oneness of spirit and with sincere teamwork among the various ecclesial communities as well as among missionaries and local clergy: this requires courage to seek out ways of working together and offering mutual help in the areas of catechesis and catholic education, as well as integral human development and charity.”


Pope Francis addressed these words at Vespers to priests, religious men and women, seminarians and members of lay movements during his apostolic visit to Albania in 2014, stressing that all peoples are called to a special role in the work of the Church.


This was also the overall theme of the Clergy - Lay Congress organized by CFC last June 21, More than 200 members of the clergy, led by 11 Philippine bishops and 6 foreign bishops sat down with CFC leaders to listen to each other, and to learn and collaborate on how to more effectively bring the Good News of salvation to the world.


Msgr. Allen Aganon, Spiritual Adviser of the CFC International Council, celebrated Mass to open the event. In his homily, Msgr. Aganon exhorted the faithful to look at the Lord’s Prayer as a prayer for all disciples of Jesus.


Msgr. Aganon said, “As disciples of Jesus, we are called to follow Him, not knowing where He will take us. As we follow Jesus, He introduces us to new situations, and that is why we are called to believe, to have faith. Jesus taught this to His disciples because the Lord’s Prayer is a prayer of trust.” 


In the first plenary session, Bishop Daniel Patrick Parcon, Bishop of the Diocese of Talibon, talked about the hierarchical and charismatic gifts being co-essential in the life of the Church, since these are given by the Spirit to build up the Church. He stressed that a harmonious complementarity between the clergy and lay movements is essential to ensure a “fruitful and ordered participation”.


The main speaker for the Congress, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of the Diocese of Caloocan, talked about sharing in the priesthood of Christ, taking off from his commentary on Frs. Richmond Nilo, Mark Ventura, Marcelito Paez, all of whom were killed as they were performing their priestly duties.


Bishop David highlighted three important points: the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial priesthood of the ordained; new evangelization; and renewed leadership as servant leadership. Regarding the first point, Bishop David enjoined the ordained not to monopolize the priesthood of Christ, stressing that all the faithful are also part of this priesthood.


Bishop David said that the only way the clergy and laity can participate in the mission of new evangelization is to serve as Christ’s continuing presence as members of his body, the Church, by the grace of baptism, through their “common priesthood.”


"Through the grace of being able to serve together—as “sacraments” (signs and instruments), as representation of the one priesthood of Jesus Christ, we experience Christ’s supreme presence in the Eucharist.


"Through the ministerial priesthood of the ordained minister who acts in the person of Christ, the head of the body who assembles the community in the Spirit and nourishes it with God’s Word, and with Christ’s body and blood... Christ can be truly present in His body, the Church,” the prelate added.


Servant leadership, according to Bishop David, is the trademark of Christ’s priesthood, which He exhibited during the washing of the disciples’ feet. 


“Jesus is our one and only exemplar. Discipleship is to configure ourselves to Christ. Let us be good representations of Christ, not poor reproductions.

The call to act in the person of Christ is to continue His mission in the world by being of the same mind as He,” Bishop David said.


In the afternoon, members of the clergy and CFC leaders sat down together to flesh out how they could be more effective co-laborers in the Lord’s vineyard.


Aside from the afternoon workshop, the Build My Church Program and Bishop David’s Mission Stations were launched, paving the way for more points of collaboration between the laity and the clergy.


To close the Congress, CFC President Michael Ariola reminded CFC to share its giftedness to the clergy because the clergy and laity belong to one, holy and apostolic Church.


He also exhorted CFC that the community is not just part of the Catholic Church, but with the clergy, IS the Catholic Church. Fr. Jun-G Bargayo, newly-ordained priest and former Youth for Christ missionary, led the praisefest. (Alma Alvarez)




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