Friday, April 24, 2009

28th Anniversary of Priestly Ordination

Today is the 28th anniversary of my priestly ordination. On April 24, 1981, I was ordained priest by Bishop Fernando Capalla (assisted by Bishop Ireneo Amantillo) in Iligan City.

I received an email greeting from my classmate Fr. Claro Conde (he is now in England). I also received a text message from Minerva. At least two of my friends remembered.

I said mass at 6:15 this morning at the convent of the Missionaries of the Assumption sisters. I didn't tell them about my anniversary. No fasting today since it is a special day for me. I joined our confreres for lunch. I went out mountain biking for one hour and 15 minutes in the afternoon. Later, I went out for dinner and a cup of cappucino at my favority hang-out at Bo's coffee shop. No party this time since it is only 28 years. But still, I celebrate on my own. I still remember that time in Rome when I went out by myself to a bar and ordered capuccino to celebrate my 14th anniversary.

I'm just grateful that after 28 years, I remain a faithful priest. I am looking forward to my golden jubilee of ordination. Here's I poem I wrote for my silver jubilee.

Silver Jubilee

“Those who die in the congregation will receive a crown in heaven” – St. Alphonsus de Liguori

Twenty-five years ago
when my hair was thick and wavy,
and my tummy was firm and flat,.
I stood before the altar
with no one by my side.
I made a promise to the Lord
to be a priest forever
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 an expanding waistline
I remain a faithful priest
in the company of the sons of Alphonsus.
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 grow on my head and I continue to 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 wheel-chair
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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