WITH THE theme “Lai’ko ‘to: Kawan ko, Mahal ko, Paglilingkuran ko,” 148 alumni bishops, priests, and deacons celebrated the 79th Alumni Priests’ Association (ALPA) Homecoming last Jan. 28-29 at the UST Central Seminary.

“By attending this alumni homecoming, we are in a way returning to the days of our youth that we have shared in this ancient ground, our home, our beloved UST Central Seminary,” Dumaguete Bishop Julito Cortes said in his homily during the Eucharistic celebration for the two-day event.

Cortes urged Thomasian priests to establish a relationship of love and service with the faithful, emphasizing three essential articulations from the homecoming’s theme— Kawan ko, Mahal ko, and Paglilingkuran ko.

“God has given the kawan to us to perform our responsibility. We are not only into a relationship with them, but also service. We love them and we will serve them even if it means great sacrifice for us. We are servant leaders to our kawan,” he said.

Cortes said building the physical structure of the house of God was easier than building the spirituality of God’s people.

“We can easily bend steel, mount rocks, mix sand, water and cement, but we cannot build the people of God in our liking. That’s why we need to listen to them,” Cortes said. “Listening and journeying with them will make them know us better and will make us know them better.”

Bo Sanchez, an international spiritual speaker, told Thomasian priests that their homilies should always be about remembering the God’s love.

“The laity needs you. You are responsible for letting the laity remember the goodness of God and what He did in the past,” Sanchez said.

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Bastion of clerics

The event also recognized ALPA’s golden jubilarians and silver jubilarians, or priests celebrating their 50th and 25th years of service.

One of the five golden jubilarians was Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, named by Pope Francis as one of the 19 new cardinals last Jan. 12.

Quevedo studied Educational Management at the UST Graduate School.

Mati Bishop Patricio Alo, Alaminos Bishop Emeritus Jesus Cabrera, Lucena Bishop Emilio Marquez, and Tandag Bishop Nereo Odchimar were the other four golden jubilarians.

Twenty-one priests were acknowledged as silver jubilarians, while 16 Benjamins, newly ordained priests, took their oaths as new ALPA members.

The 2014 ALPA Directory shows that UST is the alma mater of 67 bishops in the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), including retired bishops.

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