In his homily during the Eucharistic Celebration held in the occasion of his Golden Jubilee in the priesthood and on his 75th birthday last June 13, 2016 in Santuario di San Paolo, Casa Milan, the Most Rev. Antonio Tobias, D.D. bade farewell and expressed his utmost gratitude to the Clergy, Religious, and Laity for their love and support throughout his years of service in the Diocese of Novaliches.
“Now I am about to end, I have not yet written my letter of resignation, which I will have to do one of these days. But more or less, I have already in mind what to say to our Holy Father as I resign. It will be a resignation at the same time gratefulness for the mercy and compassion given by the Triune God,” Bishop Tobias said.
Held on the last day of the Eucharistic Days Of Mercy, the Eucharistic Celebration was the culmination of the Symposium on the Priesthood and the Gospel of Mercy entitled, “Ang Pari at ang Awa’t Habag ng Diyos.”
Bishop Tobias recounted the events of the celebration from June 11-13 2016, which was a Diocesan Eucharistic Congress that re-echoed the 51st International Eucharistic Congress held in Cebu last January 24 -31, 2016 in celebration of his 75th birthday and his Golden Jubilee in the priesthood.
He also shared to the assembly his principles in life that guided him in his years of service. The first principle was to give glory to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, who, with great mercy, has raised him up, “to more than I can be.” His second principle was to accept his own weaknesses.
Then he stressed that the agents of evangelization–Lay, Religious and Clergy–should work together for “the Church cannot live without” them. His final principle concerned the Diocesan Priests and the Religious exercising pastoral care, which the bishop described as the “perfect charity” or the “pastoral charity.” He urged priests not to focus on their parish alone.
The Bishop appealed to the priests to stay connected with their own families to the extent of bringing to their parishes their aging parents whom no one would take care of because parishioners see “the parents of Jesus in the parents of priests.” He, however, strongly pointed out that the duties of priesthood come first.
There were eight bishops, 85 priests and two deacons who concencelebrated with Bishop Tobias during the said Eucharistic Celebration. Among the bishops were: Most Rev. Honesto Ongtioco of the Diocese of Cubao; Most Rev. Hubert “Mylo” Vergara of the Diocese of Pasig; Most Rev. Manolo de los Santos of the Diocese of Virac; Most Rev. Florentino Cinense, Bishop Emeritus of Tarlac; Most Rev. Severo Caermare of the Diocese of Dipolog; Most Rev. Roberto Mallari of the Diocese of San Jose in Nueva Ecija; and Most Rev. Deogracias Iñiguez, Jr. Bishop Emeritus of Kalookan.
The Mass was followed by a dinner celebration where Rev. Fr. Leo Laguilles of Jesus, Lord of the Divine Mercy Parish and Rev. Fr. James Nitollama of the Epiphany of the Lord Parish rendered OPM hits. The symposium and the dinner celebration were headed by Msgr. Romulo Rañada, Vicar General for Administration of the Diocese of Novaliches. (~Jyn Aragon)