The Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, D.D., in his homily for the Chrism Mass held in the Cathedral Shrine and Parish of the Good Shepherd on April 13, 2017, Maundy Thursday, reminded the Clergy and Religious Men of the Diocese of Novaliches of their important role as proclaimers of the Word of God and as dispensers of God’s Mercy.
“My dear brother priests, the Word of God is entrusted to us,” he said after citing a series of concerns related to the Faithful and the Diocese, which included the process of how he dealt with complaints on the Clergy.
“Fill our Faithful with a substantial Word of God. Please prepare your homilies,” he said. Then quickly added, “I don’t want to hear complaints from the Faithful that this priest makes jokes only during the homily.”
Bishop Tobias then cited his new endaevor of preparing “pointers for priests to include in their homily that are uploaded in the website.”
Starting last December 2016, the Bishop’s Homily was added to the Diocesan Website and updated weekly, which according to the Bishop, is an added burden to the his weekly role as local ordinary.
Highlighting the teachings of Pope Francis during the Jubilee Year, the Bishop also mentioned that the Kumpisalang Bayan (Mass Confessions) often held during Holy Week should be done more often. He emphasized that it is but natural for priests to hear Confessions regularly being conduits of God’s Mercy through the Sacraments. He mentioned that part of the sins any priest now can forgive involves cases of abortion that were previously reserved for bishops to dispense.
“Have the heart…of hearing confessions even without stipend,” he stressed seriously, “Go regularly to Confession yourselves.”
Aside from these, the Bishop also mentioned his confidence in the successful completion of the Kristong Hari Parish Shrine of the Youth Diocesan Construction when the new bishop comes in. He said that despite this project, “there is enough pro-poor projects…so that the needs of the poor (in the Diocese) are not neglected.”
Bishop Tobias then ended his homily asking for prayers, especially since he’ll be exiting as prelate of Novaliches.
A video on Kristong Hari Parish Shrine of the Youth was played before the start of the Chrism Mass along with video teasers on the Year of the Parish as Communion of Communities Project of the Diocese of Novaliches Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC NOVA) and Social Communication and Media Ministry (SocComm Nova). In support of the latter, a video message of the Bishop was played before the Final Blessing to entice parishioners to participate in the said programs to strengthen the BEC in the Diocese.
Aside from the Main Church of the Cathedral, the Parish’s Hall and Gym were filled by priests, nuns, and lay from the 69 parishes and more than 100 congregations of men and women in the Diocese of Novaliches. This year’s Chrism Mass seems to be the most-attended by members of the Clergy with an estimate of more than 200 priests present. (~Minnie Agdeppa)