(Photo by Basilio H. Sepe)

February 26, 2016, 12:34p.m. – THOMASIAN alumni priests were given recognition at the 81st UST Alumni Priests’ Association Homecoming in gratititude for their priestly service last Feb 23-24 at the Buenaventura G. Paredes, O.P (BGPOP) Building.

A total of 35 jubilarians were cited for serving the Church for 60, 50 and 25 years. Among the diamond jubilarians was Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal who led the first communion of 5,000 children at the International Eucharistic Congress last January. Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma received the award on behalf of Cardinal Vidal.

15 “Benjamins,” or newly ordained priests, were inducted to the association in the gathering. The coffee table book titled “Faces of Priesthood,” highlighting the contributions of Thomasian clergy, was also launched.

Among the priests featured in “Faces of Priesthood” were Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, Rector Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P., former rector Rolando de la Rosa, O.P., Prior Provincial of the Dominican Province of the Philippines Fr. Gerard Francisco Timoner, O.P., and Santo Domingo Church rector Fr. Rolando Mactal, O.P.

The year’s theme, “Abraso: Rediscovering our Priestly Fraternity,” highlighted the roots of Thomasian priests. Fr. Thadeu Balongag, association president, said the homecoming instilled a deep sense of gratitude and made members proud to be called Thomasian alumni.

“A UST stay is always meaningful. This is so because whatever was given [during our stay] was given straight from the heart,” Balongag said.

Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Florencio said the gathering was a tangible form of unity between priests. “This Abraso is indeed a warm embrace, a culture welcoming union and communion. It is a welcoming gesture, and this homecoming is an embrace of the brother priests working in the vineyard of the Lord,” Florencio said in his homily during the homecoming Mass.

Kabankalan Bishop Patricio Buzon led the Confessio Peccati, the Sacrament of Penance, and said the act of penance leads to the “greatest experience of God’s love which is His mercy that saved us.”

Two concurrent sessions took place on the second day of the gathering: church preservation and cooperatives and finances.

The new office of the association, located at the third floor of the BGPOP building, was blessed and inaugurated. The Bachelor of Sacred Theology Class of 1991 turned over the responsibility for next year’s homecoming to the Class of 1992. Lea Mat P. Vicencio


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