Sunday, September 24, 2006

Celebrating 25 years of Priesthood

This evening the Redemptorist community in Davao celebrated the anniversary of ordination of 3 Redemptorists: Fr. Flan Daffy (50 years), Fr. Allen O'Brien (40 years) and yours truly (25 years). After a dinner of turkey, steamed fish and calamare, we had a program where the postulants and seminarians sang and danced. Each of the jubilarians were also asked to share their thoughts and reflections. I gave a powerpoint presentation of my life over the last 25 years - with photographs interspersed with poems. I ended my sharing with this poem:

Silver Jubilee
"those who die in the congregation will receive a crown of glory in heaven" - St. Alphonsus de Ligouri

Twenty-five years ago
when my hair was thick and wavy
and my tummy was flat and firm,
I stood before the altar
with no one by my side.
I made a promise to the Lord
to be a faithful priest
in the company of the sons of Alphonsus
for better or for worse, in sickness and in health
until I receive the crown he promised.

Twenty-five years later
with no hair on my head
and with an explanding waistline
I remain a faithful priest
in the company of the sons of Alponsus.
I kept my promise all these years.
I slept alone and loved the Lord and the people
with all my heart and soul.
I preached the good news of the kingdom
and worked for justice and peace.
I formed not my own family - but the family of God -
the Christian community.

Twenty-five years or more from now.
When not a single hair will grown on my head
and I look like a prisoner on death row,
when my tummy will be wider than my chest
when I can no longer bike
and a pretty nurse will push my wheelchair
I will remain a faithful priest
in the company of the sons of Alphonsus.
I will keep my promise
until I receive the crown he promised.

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