DUMAGUETE CITY -- Bishop Julito Cortes of the Diocese of Dumaguete on Tuesday urged the newly ordained priests and deacons to serve God faithfully in their chosen vocation otherwise, if they have other intentions of joining the priesthood, then they might as well leave this early.
Bishop Cortes ordained three new priests and four new deacons in a con-celebrated mass at a jam packed Cathedral of St. Catherine of Alexandria in this capital city of Negros Oriental.
“It is very important for the priest now to realize who they are and that their identity is hinged on Christ,” said the prelate.
“We do that by being faithful, especially in our prayer. So, without the relationship with Christ then, we have nothing to give,” he said.
The new priests are Fr. Mart Salac of San Juan, Siquijor; Fr. Conrad Lagarde of Manalongon, Sta. Catalina, Negros Oriental and Fr. Gonzalo Omison II of Basay, Negros Oriental.
Also ordained as deacons are Rev. Kevin Rayoso, Rev. Isidro Hisugan, Rev. Leonardo Tuscano and Rev. Jhon Bomediano.
Bishop Cortes, in his homily, emphasized “that we are called to serve but if (your) intention of becoming a priest is not to serve, better leave already this early.”
Another important factor that the prelate stressed is the support and prayers of the people of God to the priests because when have these, then they are inspired to serve, Cortes went on to say.
“This dynamic of give and take, of support, makes us alive in the church,” the bishop said.
Bishop Cortes describes the ordination as “God’s generosity” to the diocese, considering that in the past three years, five of its priests had died for various reasons.
But God is generous, as seen in the ordination of the three priests and four deacons on Valentine’s Day, the day of hearts and of love.
While reflecting on it, Bishop Cortes referred to the attitude of Job as told in the Bible, which talks about when “the Lord gives, the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
That, in fact, was his prayer as he prepared for the ordination, he revealed in an interview afterwards.
Happy with having new priests in the diocese, Bishop Cortes said they can strengthen the ministries in the different parishes and chaplaincies.
He also explained his principle, which he learned from Cardinal Vidal, to give the newly ordained priests a “beautiful experience” during the first two years of their assignment after ordination.
The first two must not be traumatic, according to Cardinal Vidal, Cortes.
“That is what I am doing now and I already have an assignment for them although I still have to inform them about this,” the Dumaguete bishop said.
As for the new deacons, they will have to be trained for at least six months before they can be ordained as priests.
Meanwhile, Bishop Cortes confirmed a reshuffling in the Diocese of Dumaguete involving around 10 priests because of the need.
He said Siaton parish priest, Fr. Casiano Salac, Jr., died last December 25.
Bishop Cortes said he has appointed Fr. Edgardo Mariño, the former parish priest of Ayungon to the Siaton parish.
It is a “reward” for Fr. Mariño, who has been in Ayungon for 11 years and who has built a new church that was recently completed after the devastating earthquake that toppled the old church in February 2012. (PNA)