OMBUDSMAN Conchita Carpio-Morales has urged seminarians to “uphold integrity and good governance in Church ministries” in contrast to corruption in government.
“As you fulfill your mission, keep in mind that the prophets of ancient times stood up to [kings and emperors and challenged] their evil ways,” Morales said in her keynote address during the opening celebration of “Kapatiran,” a gathering of the Seminarian’s Network of the Philippines last March 4.
Morales warned an audience of about 700 priests and seminarians that even Church leaders are tempted to commit unprincipled acts, as “portrayed by the Roman Catholic Church, in the sale of indulgence of sins and lavish lifestyle of the Church hierarchy.”
“It has been said that the accomplice to the [crime] of corruption is frequently our [own] indifferences. There is an antidote of enforced accountability to combat impunity,” the Ombudsman said.
In his homily during Mass for the gathering, CBCP President and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas called on seminarians to “build on character formation,” saying it is the foundation of “koinonia,” the event’s theme which translates to “communion.”
“Koinonia is not just a gathering in one place. It builds on character and is celebrated in Christ, with Christ, and through Christ,” Villegas said.
“To you who have been given much, much character is also expected,” the prelate said.
The CBCP president also urged seminarians to practice humility as “priests stumble and fall because of pride.”
Fr. Enrico Gonzalez, O.P, former dean of the Faculty of Philosophy, advised seminarians to strengthen their communion with families.
“Don’t expect mercy in economics and politics — the discipline is that there are only permanent interests and no permanent friends,” Gonzales said in his lecture.
The family, he said, is an appropriate illustration of the dynamics of communion. “Family is not an idealistic entity, it is a struggle. It grows through experience,” he said.
For Mark Louis Lazaro of the UST Central Seminary, the annual “Kapatiran” is a manifestation of brotherhood and camaraderie among seminarians.
“Para rin magkaka-level kami ng formation, as much as possible. At para yung vision namin, hindi nagkakalayo,” Lazaro said in an interview.
The interaction between fellow seminarians opened them to different perspectives, Lazaro said.
Jester Tatad of the Holy Rosary Major Seminary in Naga City said the gathering brought a feeling of acceptance.
“Even though magkakaiba kami, nagkakaisa kami. Isa lang ‘yung gusto naming mangyari [and that is] to serve God and [the] people,” Tatad said.
Now on its 26th year, “Kapatiran” gathered priests and seminarians from 21 dioceses across the country.