ucanews.com reporter, ManilaUpdated: April 02, 2018 11:51 AM GMT
Priests in the Archdiocese of Manila renew their priestly vows during Holy Thursday rituals. (Photo by Angie de Silva)
A Catholic prelate has apologized for faults within the Philippine clergy and called on priests to go beyond soliciting money to build churches, sending students to schools, and giving homilies.
This was the challenge posed by Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, former president of the Catholic bishops' conference.
In a message to priests during the Chrism Mass last week, the prelate said the clergy needs to rethink its purpose and identity and inspire gratitude in others.
"Let our giftedness lead our people to gratitude. When they remember us, may they give thanks," said Archbishop Villegas.
The prelate challenged priests to examine "how they affect people" even as he apologized to Catholics for the shortcomings and defects of the clergy.
In Antipolo Archdiocese, Father Jun Meneses appealed to Catholics to pray for priests who "strive to become better."
Father Meneses said that although people these days think that a priest is "always wrong," there can be no church celebration without them.
"Though priests are sinners, we remember that the sacraments are performed by Jesus through them," said the priest.
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, meanwhile, appealed to young Filipinos to enter the seminary and join the priesthood.
"Please, young and not so young people ... open your eyes. Open your eyes. Open your ears the Good News is being told to you. Listen, listen," said the prelate.
The Catholic Church in the Philippines has declared the year 2018 as the "Year of the Clergy and Consecrated People."
Last month, the head of the country's Commission on Seminaries reminded priests to undergo a lifestyle check to see if they have remained faithful to their mission in their daily lives.
Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos told priests during a gathering in Manila to examine their daily activities and how much time and resources they devote to their priestly responsibilities.
"How many of our friends are among the rich, the middle class, the poor? How many houses of the poor have we visited?" asked the prelate.