2 New Priests for Pasig
By: CONRADO ALVEZ
Lay Media Coordinator
PASIG CITY – “Do you judge them to be worthy?” asked His Excellency Most Rev. Mylo Hubert C. Vergara, D.D., Bishop of Pasig, upon presentation of the ordinandi. After confirming their worthiness for ordination, the Bishop proclaimed, “Relying on the help of our Lord God and our Savior Jesus Christ, we choose to ordain our brothers for the order of Priesthood.” Applauding and praising God, the congregation responded,“Thanks be to God.”
The Bishop of Pasig ordained to the priestly office Rev. Fr. Michael Israel Tañada Ortega, graduate of San Jose Major Seminary, and Rev. Edmond Retorico Reynaldo of St. Joseph Regional Seminary last December 3, 2012 at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Pasig City.
Also present were Antipolo Auxiliary Bishop Francisco De Leon, San Jose Seminary Rector Fr. Sylvino Borres, and Fr. Midyphil Billones, Vice Rector of St. Joseph Major Seminary in Jaro, Iloilo, clergy and religious, family and friends of Rev. Michael and Rev. Edmon, and the parishioners of the Diocese of Pasig.
Bishop Vergara prayed that the ordinandi will be vigilant in their own priestly identity in their own lives that whatever gift they will receive today, especially the gift of priesthood, they will care for it, they will love it and they will make sure that it is not theirs. “It is from God and they owe it to the people they serve… the flock they will shepherd to become responsible and accountable stewards of the gift of the priesthood,” stressed the Bishop.
He also shared his insights in three (3) catch words: Consecration, Proclamation, and Mission. Regarding the first point, the bishop said, “Being consecrated to God and by God, Rev. Michael, Rev. Edmond, I hope you realize the deep meaning of consecration. As you were ordained a deacon and now in another level ordained a priest, you are consecrated to God. Pope Benedict XVI in his 2009 Chrism Mass shared the meaning of consecration … in reflecting on the Priesthood, consecrating one to God means he has to be set apart and be offered to God so that the one consecrated no longer belongs to the world but belongs to God. The one consecrated is now a property of God, no longer the property of the world …. You now belong to God but belonging to God means you have to live by what God wants, what God wills … Your consecration means you will have to let go of many things so that you can serve well, your convenience, your comfort for the good of the Church.”
The Bishop discussed his second insight, “The second thought is Proclamation … that is what the people of God expects from priest … to be effective proclaimers of the WORD and teachers of the faith. And they want to know deeply the faith through us, through you. It is a big coincidence that you are ordained within the Year of Faith. I’m sure the reason why Pope Benedict XVI declared this as the Year of Faith is because he saw in the west and perhaps even in our churches all over the world, people are suffering from interior desert and he called this a ‘desertification’, a void within where it seems that there is a forgetfulness of God. That’s why in his letter, in his homily, he would over emphasize that we have to lead the people out of the desert … Rev. Michael, Rev. Edmond, that will be your task. But that task cannot be possible if you do not lead yourselves out of your own interior deserts first.”
“Our prayer is that you will become effective proclaimers of the Gospel. But believe me, you may be proficient, you may be excellent in proclaiming and even teaching the faith with your words but to become an effective proclaimer is to live the WORD yourselves. You have to become testimonies of the faith. You have to become living examples of Jesus Christ,” reminded the bishop.
Finally, expounding on Mission, the bishop said, “‘Simon son of God do you love me more than these?’ The point of the question is about being sent by the one who sends. It’s about mission. It is always a struggle for priests to obey their bishop, believe me. To be sent where the bishop wants them to go or to follow whatever the bishop says in the pastoral administration of the diocese, he will always be tested in mission. But remember, it is not asking you Rev. Michael or Rev. Edmond, ‘Do you love me, Bishop Mylo, more that these?’ No. Do you love Jesus, the Good Shepherd? Then and only then can you realize the task … to send you to your sheep and go to where God wants you to go … Rev. Michael, Rev. Edmon d, you will be sent on mission not by Bishop Mylo but by the Good Shepherd. Follow him and go where you will be sent by the Lord.”
Fr. Edmond Reynaldo was officially assigned as Parochial Vicar of Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Plaza Rizal, Malinao, Pasig City while Fr. Michael Ortega was officially assigned as Parochial Vicar of Sto. Tomas De Villanueva Parish of Santolan Pasig City.
After the rites of ordination and reding of official assignments, Fr. Edmond Reynaldo in behalf of Fr. Michael Ortega thanked all of their benefactors, mentors and friends.
“… Mga kapatid me kasabihan, ‘In every success of a man, there is a woman behind. And the woman behind us ni Fr. Michael ay nandito ngayon sa inyong harapan, no other than our Blessed Mother Virgin Mary,” excitedly quipped Fr. Edmond.
The congregation received the first priestly blessing from the newly ordained priest, Fr. Michael Ortega. Bishop Mylo knelt before the newly ordained priests and kissed their hands.