Around 3,000 priests to gather for retreat in November
CEBU CITY — At least 3,000 priests from all over the country will gather in Cebu in November this year for the “National Retreat for Priests” organized by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
The three-day event which starts on November 7 will be held at the IEC Convention Center in Cebu City.
The gathering, which carries the theme “Priesthood: A Call for Holiness,” will also bring priests to different shrines and churches in Cebu.
Msgr. Cesar Vergara, chairperson of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on the Clergy, said the retreat is the biggest gathering of priests in the Philippines which was supposed to be held in time for 500 years of Christianity, but the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the event.
“In this synodal journey together with our shared profession as priests, it is essential to take time for personal reflection, renewal, and recommitment to the sacred calling we have received from Jesus Christ, our high priest,” said Vergara reading the statement of the CBCP during a press conference held at the Archbishop’s Palace in Cebu City on Tuesday morning.
Archbishop Charles John Brown, papal nuncio to the Philippines, will open the retreat with a Holy Mass on November 7.
Speakers in the three-day gathering will include Irish nun Sr. Briege McKenna, who is known for the “gift of healing.” She has been giving retreats for priests for over 50 years in over 100 countries.
The other speaker is Spanish priest Fr. Pablo Escriva de Romani, who was known for helping people in war zones and for giving retreats as a missionary around the world.
Fe Barino, Archdiocese of Cebu working committee chair, said they are arranging pilgrimage tours for visiting priests to the Venerable Teofilo Camomot Shrine in Carcar City, the Our Lady of Simala Shrine in Sibonga, and the Our Lady of Fatima Capellina in San Remegio, among other widely visited religious sites in Cebu.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said the event will serve as a reunion for all the priests in the Philippines as well as the renewal of their priestly vows.
“Because in the journey towards tomorrow, it is our witnessing to the call we have received. It is proclaiming to the world that we are priests of Jesus and therefore we should live truly as one. It is in our desire to commit ourselves to the task that the Lord has entrusted to us, that we proclaim that we are grateful for the gift. It is just like saying that we want to live the life that we receive,” Palma said.