‘Peter, feed my sheep’-A A +A
Saturday, May 3, 2014
DURING Holy Week I watched the tape St. Peter, which moved me so much. Omar Sharif was the main actor and he was very good.
The part I liked best was when our Lord asked Peter three times: “Peter, do you love me?” Peter’s answers came deep down from his gut level. Peter was then embraced by our Lord and was told: “Feed my sheep.”
Today, when I look back to the very busy Holy Week we all had, I feel I should mention two special groups. They are the Jesuits in Cebu and the priests from the Redemptorist community. I can only speak of these two groups because I spent my Holy Week with them.
Let me start with the Triduum last April 17, 18 and 19. Sacred Heart Church was over-flowing with people from 7 a.m. to 12 a.m. The talks by Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin S.J. started at 8:30 a.m. but people came as early as 7 a.m.
Congratulations to Sacred Heart Church Parish. The Triduum was free for all of us. The Jesuits invited their Provincial to feed us. All Jesuits in Cebu were there full force.
We only had 15-minute breaks per session, but the talks of Fr. Jed Villarin were so good that we came back on time since we did not want to miss anything. None of us was forced to do anything except to see and accept the love of God as we walk this earth.
All of us who could came back after the first day, came back ready to start the second and third day. We were really well fed with God’s word and we who were there would like to express our gratitude to everyone in the Sacred Heart Parish especially Fr. Ben Sim, all the Jesuits and the untiring Ladies of Sacred Heart Parish who really went out of their way to make everyone welcome. We do not know how to thank Fr. Jed Villarin because the “bullets” he left with us will feed us for a long time. Now we know how the multitude felt, after the multiplication of the loaves and fishes.
Praise God too for the Redemptorist clergy in our midst. I know that the priests left behind were very few. Many were still at Tacloban doing rehabilitation work. Others were out giving Lenten retreats or others were still doing mission work. Aside from the Lenten services, I honestly do not know how my Redemptorist friends managed to still stand up after hearing confessions.
This Holy Week was the first time I saw so many people coming in for confessions. For three consecutive days I saw Fr. Noel, Fr.Bill, Fr. Manoling, Fr. Willy and Bishop Amantillo busy hearing confessions. One afternoon I got caught in the middle of the crowd and didn’t know how to extricate myself.
Confessions were held at the left side and the right side of the sacristy. The lawn between the adoration chapel and the old convent was full and the corridors of the old convent were also full of people. I was caught midstream in the crowd, inching my way out after a visit to the wake of Bro. Patrick Salas at the chapel. The security guard pulled me before I could topple over. The heat was overwhelming. There were confessions in English and Cebuano. I saw Fr. Leo Armada, our parish priest during these days trying to put order, trying to be in so many places at the same time.
I marveled at their dedication, their commitment and their love for God as they went about their discipleship, feeding us with the sacrament of reconciliation.
Seeing this kind of a commitment was really what I needed. Previously I was low in spirits, because members of our secular clergy and I differed in priorities. You see I do not believe in pomp and splendor or in constant renovation, if the parish church is newly renovated. I also do not believe in second collections for the same parish in the same mass. But that’s not my issue today.
Today, I take off my hat to the disciples of Peter who showed us that what motivates you is your complete love of God and love for your flock. Thank you from the thousands of us whose lives were touched this Lenten season by your selfless works, your examples even at the expense of some of you getting sick. Thank you for feeding us.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 04, 2014.