Today is the culmination of the “Year for Priests” which is a once in a lifetime, one year of celebration. It started last June 2009 and was concluded with a gathering of priests in Rome. It is a one year privilege for the priests to rejoice in the Sacrament of Holy Orders and their affirmation to commit their lives to God and the Church thru the said Sacrament. It is also an opportunity for all Christians, particularly the Catholic congregation, to show their gratefulness thru sharing and prayers, and to affirm their love and support for their priests.
Briefly, the priests play a very vital role in our lives. From infancy to adulthood, our priests are the ones inspiring and guiding us, as far as our spiritual beliefs are concerned, especially those thirsting for spirituality and conversion. The priests are not perfect, they are also humans, and subject to mistakes along the way. That is the reason why we also need to pray for them that they would be free from harm and that they would be faithful to the service. They also need kind words and appreciation from us and that is very important to their well-being. Just like the song, we, laypeople serve as the wind beneath the priests' wings!
I remember our family had close personal experience and relationship with our local priests. My parents were very friendly to priests, especially during the latter's seminary days. The seminarians were frequent visitors in our house. My two aunties who are nuns have also supported poor but deserving young men to study priesthood. This is the reason why we continue to support priests and admire their humility, sacrifice and holiness!
This year, the parishioners have been encouraged to participate in related activities in appreciation for priesthood, . It could be a humble and simple celebration thru sending greeting cards, brief inspiring notes, fruit baskets, candy bars, and the like.
Early this year, the kids in school gave out greeting cards for our priests in the community and it was offered during the Sunday mass.
It was a memorable day for our class because what we prepared for our priests was the one displayed at the outside alley of the church.
It’s made of a soft board with pictures, notes and thank you messages, drawn and colored with glitters and at the back are the kids' signatures.
Some groups celebrated the year with a get together by inviting their priests to a dinner. For instance, the leadership of the Filipino Diocesan Apostolate (FDA) of the Diocese of Brooklyn (which includes Queens borough) here in NY honored the Filipino priests serving the community to a Potluck Dinner one day before the Year of Priests ends. It is so amazing that there are only about 7 priests serving the Diocese with about 17 parishes and yet they are always there —so accommodating and always available to say mass with a smile on their faces and with some jokes to crack and spare during their homilies!
To make it a festive mood, the coordinators and leaders of the various parishes of the Diocese brought in some Filipino food to share with the rest….
and of course how could the delectable “lechon” or the roast pig be forgotten. It was indeed delicious especially with the aroma of the lemon grass inside! Hmmmm, everyone in the room has temporarily set aside their cholesterol concerns and all!
As part of the Filipino culture and a sign of gratitude , the priests were given presents as well by the leadership …..
a barong Tagalog —- this is a type of Filipino dress mostly for men that is very lightweight and worn untucked and with some embroideries on it.
I felt the priests enjoyed that night, especially when they tried to blow the candles of the chocolate cake,
which unfortunately I wasn’t able and no longer can afford to savor the taste of it anymore! Most importantly, I also believed that with the joyful treat the priests had during the night, the leadership was able to successfully make the event more meaningful and memorable! Kudos to the leadership! Everyone knows who……
Oh, by the way that day was a special day for me too!!!