Ordination of new priests in Tarlac offers glimpse of Church’s new normal during pandemic | Inquirer News

Ordination of new priests in Tarlac offers glimpse of Church’s new normal during pandemic

06:26 PM July 07, 2020

NEW SERVANTS. Six deacons were ordained priests at one of the first ceremonies of the Diocese of Tarlac in Tarlac City on Tuesday (July 7). The Church heeded health protocols. The program was led by Tarlac Bishop Enrique Macaraeg (at center). PHOTO BY MARIA ADELAIDA CALAYAG

TARLAC CITY—In what could be a glimpse of a new normal for the Catholic Church, six deacons were ordained as priests here minus some traditional procedures that have become taboo during this pandemic times.

The deacons were ordained by the Diocese of Tarlac on Tuesday (July 7) at the San Sebastian Cathedral, days after restrictions on Church activities in the province had been eased under a modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).


The presbyteral ordination of deacons Robert Cabrera, Paul Bernie Carreon, Nico de Leon, Nickson Liwag, Fredrich Primero and Jeffrey Razon came after the July 1 ordination of Fr. James Layosa at the St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Bamban town.


The ceremonies were postponed twice when the government imposed a Luzon lockdown to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The diocese proceeded with the program, while enforcing health protocols. Instead of the traditional embrace, the veteran priests welcomed their newly ordained colleagues by bowing to them.

The traditional kissing of hands during the thanksgiving Mass was also dropped and replaced with a blessing or a prayer.


The diocese limited the number of participants to 210, to include choir members, altar servers, and priests. The program was streamed live via Radio Maria and the Facebook page of the San Sebastian Cathedral.

Razon said each deacon was allowed to bring a maximum of 30 guests into the cathedral.

“Priesthood is meant for service, not for prestige, power or wealth,” said Tarlac Bishop Enrique Macareg in his homily.


“Priesthood is not a career or a profession, that makes one rich like the doctors, engineers or lawyers. Priesthood is different,” the bishop said.

“Stay away from the life of comfort, luxury, and material wealth, that is not your life. Rather strive to live a life of sacrifice and simplicity in your risky ministry,” he said.

The ordination of Layosa, who belongs to the religious order of the Clerics Regular of Somasca, was limited to 50 guests. His ceremony was led by Archbishop Florentino Lavarias, of San Fernando, Pampanga, who said “it should be considered a blessing.”

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Layosa will be sent to Maumere City in Indonesia once international flights resume. He is also the first priest to be ordained at the St. Michael Parish.


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