On this day (July 27, 2020), while the Philippines continues to register thousands of COVID-19 cases and frustrated cause oriented groups rally while the president is delivering the State of the Nation Address (SONA), the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Jaro, Iloilo, Philippines is filled with heavenly music. Archbishop Jose Romeo Lazo is presiding over the ordination of four new priests including our very own John Blas. Due to the observance of COVID-19 protocols, the huge cathedral can accommodate only a limited number of guests, mostly immediate relatives of the new priests and some priests of the archdiocese, MHM and Trappist community.
It is a very solemn celebration despite of the simplicity of everything. The Archbishop in his homily told the newly ordain priests to remain steadfast in the mission of Jesus and allow the uncertainty of the present health situation to inspire them to love life and to live life.
Due to health protocols there are some tweaks in the liturgy. Only the Archbishop prayed over the new priests while the concelebrating priests extended their hands (from where they were standing) to pray for the newly ordained. The traditional kiss of peace was given only by the Archbishop and the local superiors.
There were simple snacks after the celebration but most of the attendees did not stay for long. Others did not get into the social hall. That is very understandable for they may really be observing the health protocols in distancing.
Congratulations to all and may God continue to bless our newly ordained priests.
Fr. Mario M. Dimapilis, MHM, RN
Blas John Garde Estrevencion MHM has been appointed to serve in the diocese of Hyderabad, Sindh Province, Pakistan