MORE than 5,000 priests were present at the start of the five-day Second National Congress of the Clergy (NCC2) at the World Trade Center in Pasay City Monday morning.

Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales expressed gladness over the number of attendees in this year’s event, which is the biggest gathering of priests.

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“Historically this is the biggest gathering of priests. Now it’s more than 5,000,” he said.

The 1st National Congress of the Clergy in 2004 only gathered 4,000 priests.

But despite some petty problems, former Ambassador to Vatican Henrietta de Villa, head of the NCC2 central coordinating council, is also glad over the number of participants.

“This is really great seeing them all here and more are actually still arriving,” she said minutes before the congress started.

Among the problems they have encountered during the event was in the registration process after some priests failed to bring their celebret, the priest identification card.

“Some priests did not register. I’m referring to the walk-in. We just asked them to fill up a form for their temporary ID so we can give them a kit,” she said.

But despite this, the event went off smoothly with the priests enjoying the opportunity to be spiritually renewed together with their fellow priests.

The gathering aims to provide the priests a deep and religious experience that will hopefully lead to a spiritual conversion and greater commitment.

This year’s theme is “Faithfulness of Christ, faithfulness of priests.”

The event will end on January 29 with a procession and mass at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City. (FP/Sunnex)