More than 500 priests attend the opening Mass at the start of a three-day convention in Zamboanga
Treasure the priesthood. Love, nurture and cultivate it. Be a model to your parishioners and work for peace.
This was the message Archbishop Romulo Valles
of Zamboanga had for clergymen during a three-day priests' convention in the southern Philippine region of Mindanao.
Some 500 priests from around Mindanao attended the annual convention titled: “The Word of God, Our Response to Good Governance and Peace,” in Zamboanga February 14-16.
During the convention Father Antonio Moreno, president of Jesuit-run Ateneo de Zamboanga University, called on his fellow priests “to seize upon the climate of peace” prevailing in the country.
“Peace and good governance will make or break the development of Mindanao,” he said.
The Philippine government and various rebel groups declared a cease-fire this week as Manila began peace negotiations with communist and Muslim insurgents.
Father Moreno said the country’s clergy should claim ownership of the exhortations made by Philippine bishops regarding peace and governance.
“Our bishops are not wanting in their statements on these concerns,” he said.
Archbishop Valles urged the clergy to have faith in overcoming challenges.
He cited the example of the early settlers of Zamboanga who “overcame hardships and dangers because they placed all their trust in our Mother and through her in our Savior.”
He told the clergy to build peace and promote good governance through “discipleship,” such as learning from the poor and “servant-leadership” or by placing themselves in the service of the people.
Policeman-priest works to resolve conflict
Philippine priest seeks end to violence cycle