08/31/2009, 00.00
PHILIPPINES
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Year for Priests in Manila: confessions and fund raising for seminaries

by Santosh Digal
Across the Philippines a number of initiatives are being undertaken for the ‘Year for Priests’. Through days of prayer, fasting and fund raising, priests and lay people are bearing witness to society of their meeting with Christ, inviting young people to offer their lives in the service of God and the Church.
Manila (AsiaNews) – Three months after the ‘Year for Priests’ was launched on 19 June, celebrations continue in the Philippines. Following Benedict XVI’s invitation to contemplate the “the Heart pierced by the Cross” and “allow” oneself to “be completely conquered by Christ”, priests and lay people are working together to support the Church’s countrywide mission through prayers and deeds.

Fr Robert Fabillo, a spiritual director and teacher at Lorenzo Ruiz Mission Institute (Seminary) in Manila Archdiocese, told AsiaNews that the ‘Year for Priests’ called by the Pope” is a “constant reminder to stay in touch with Jesus,” the original priest.

“All that I am, and my being as a person and priest, and all that I do in my priestly duties and functions should gear to Christ’s mission,” he explained. The time he devotes to listen to the faithful and bring them spiritual assistance is an example of this.

Pointing at the example of Saint John Vianney, the patron saint of priests and of the Year for Priests, Father Robert stressed the importance of the sacrament of the confession.

We, as priests, need to listen to and learn from lay people who are part of our life and ministry because ministerial priesthood serves”. Through baptism it “exists for and is at the service of common priesthood,” he said.

On 22 August the laity of the Archdiocese of Manila organised a day of prayer and fasting for priests and vocations.

On that occasion, in addition to fund raising to support seminaries many young priests and their parents stepped forward to give their testimonials in order to show the importance of the work of the Christian community as a whole, clergy and laity together, in the service of the Church.

Events such as these are planned for the whole year in all of the country’s dioceses and parishes.

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