DECREE ON THE PRESBYTERAL COMMUNITY


INTRODUCTION

 

  1. 1.The pastoral objective of the Diocesan Synod of Lucena is clearly pointed out in our Bishop’s Pastoral Letter announcing the celebration of this Synod. It is his fervent hope and prayer that years after the close of the Second Vatican Council., “we may be able to formulate a Synodal Document that will constitute our Pastoral Program for our beloved Diocese.”1 it is the valued conviction of the present Synod that among the means necessary for the building up of the Local Church of Lucena the formation of the Presbyteral Community occupies the most important place. It believes that the local church should find in the community of priests together with its bishop a concrete manifestations of what a Christian community truly is.

 

  1. 2.Priests are set apart from the people by their vocation, ordination and mission. They are taken from the people in order that they may totally dedicate themselves to the work of the ministry.2 As co-workers of the Bishop they build up the local church which is the Body of Christ in this place and time.3

 

  1. 3.Having observed and scrutinized the changed circumstances of the Diocese of Lucena and of the sacerdotal life, this Synod aims to further apply the more recent documents of the Church on the priesthood, particularly Presbyterorum Ordinis, to our local presbyteral community. The high vision of this endeavor is to make priestly existence a more effective instrument of the saving acts of Christ according to the conditions obtaining in our diocese.

 

CHAPTER I

 THE FORMATION OF SEMINARIANS

 

  1. 4.Divine Providence has richly blessed the Diocese of Lucena with vocations, using of course, among many others, the instrumentality of such associations as the Kapisanan ng San Antonio and the Apostolado ng Panalangin. The Council says that it is the duty of the whole Christian people “to cooperate in their various ways both earnest prayer and by other means available to them, to ensure that the Church will always have those priests who are needed for the fulfillment of her divine mission.”4
  1. 5.As regards the discipline of seminarians, the administrators of our seminarians must be guided by the norms of the Church on the formation of seminarians, in particular, the Decree of the Second Vatican Council Optatam Totius the pertinent norms from the new Code of Canon Law, and the approved Program of Priestly Training in the Philippines. The discipline of seminarians, according to the Council, must be suited to the age, mentality and developmental stage of the young men being formed.5
  1. 6.In the seminary, the young seminarians are conditioned “to follow Christ the Redeemer with generous souls and pure hearts.”6 Young as they are, pliability is one of their traits. Hence, the good example of their mentors, of their parish priests and of their parents is very important in the preservation of their vocation.
  1. 7.In the Seminary the future priests should be made aware of the interrelationship between doctrine and ministry through the gradual introduction of apostolate in their formation. In this way apostolic experience suited to the seminarians’ maturity and development becomes “an integral art of the progress of’ priestly training.”7
  1. 8.What the Council says about preparing them for the ministry of the Word, the ministry of Worship and the ministry of Shepherdhood must guide the programs affecting their formation.8 Above all, as can be drawn from the documents and the mind of the Church, the seminary as instititution should offer the future diocesan priests the preliminary experience of a community inspired by charity and open to modern needs, of brotherly fellowship and hierarchic dependence.9

RESOLUTION – 1. Those who are concerned with the promotion and development of priestly vocation, under the lead of the Director of Vocation, shall continue their blessed effort at improving the system of campaigning for priestly vocation and strive to give new direction and orientation to this worthly apostolate.

R-2. Serious consideration shall be given to the reasonable expectations of people regarding the discipline of seminarians.

R-3. The Director of Vocation in consultation with the seminary staff and the respective parish priests shall plan and implement the appropriate apostolate of the seminarians without prejudice to the requirements of their formation in the seminary and to their future activities.

R-4. The students of theology shall be given a formation that is socio-pastoral without sacrificing solid doctrinal foundation in line with the particular thrust of the Diocese.

 

 

CHAPTER II

THE ON-GOING FORMATION OF THE CLERGY


 

  1. 9.The spiritual formation of the future priests and of those already ordained is so vital that it should always be given priority. Everything about the priesthood flows for it and leads to it. The holiness of the clergy is a matter of deep concern to the bishop.10 On the other hand, the priestly themselves must be thoroughly convinced of its profound necessity for the life of the Christian community to which they are appointed as well as for the life of the universal Church.11 The priests, therefore, must strive to become more and more configured to Christ through imitation and identification with Him. In this way they will become more effective instruments for the service of the people of God. The priest truly becomes a man of the people when is truly a man of God. In becoming a man of action he should likewise be a man of prayer. In the midst of a changing world an updated ministry is in order.

R-5 After ordination the priestly formation shall be pursued through the establishment of an Institute for Priestly Renewal in the Diocese. Should the Diocese be unable to establish its own Institute, this renewal shall be had in another diocese with approved program for priestly renewal.

R-6. The renewal course/seminar shall be held every five years and attendance it shall be compulsory for every priest.

R-7. The following shall be included among the statutes to be made in regard to the renewal: a) goal setting and appropriate preparation of the Staff who will direct the Institute; b) conclusion of experts either as resource persons or as members of the regular staff; c) participation of the seminary faculty.

R-8. The diocese shall provide for the preparation of personnel to be assigned to the seminary and an on-going formation for the present seminary staff.

 

CHAPTER III

DEEPING OF THE PRIESTLY SPIRITUALITY

 

  1. 10.Priestly, the Council says, are bound by a special reason to acquire holiness. “They will acquire holiness in their own distinctive way by exercising their functions sincerely and tirelessly in the Spirit of Christ.”12 The whole rule for the priest’s life is expressed in the word “And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth” (Jo. 17-1913 Among the special spiritual requirements with the Council enumerates, four are specially demanded by the ministry of priests. They are humility, obedience, celibacy and voluntary poverty. Apostolic following of Christ demands that priestly continually search for God’s will and obey their legitimate authorities. The promise of celibacy which they made at their ordination freely and totally opens them to undivided service of God and community. Voluntary poverty teaches them to be satisfied with what has been given them, always giving thanks to God for everything.14
  1. 11.The proper performance of priestly duties requires a great degree of interior holiness. For any priest to neglect his own personal sanctification, and to become over involved in the external works, however holy, of the priestly ministry, is to commit a serious error. If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow” (Mt. 16:24) It is said left behind them an outstanding example of that St. John Marie Vianney, the parish priest of Ars, and now heavenly patron of diocesan clergy, often meditated on these words of our Lord and resolved to make them the well-spring of his ministry.
  1. 12.In the matter of priestly inspirituality, it behooves this Synod to recall what the Second Vatican Council says. “Priests should grow in the love of God and of their neighbor by the daily exercise of their duty, should keep the bond of priestly fellowship, should abound in every spiritual good and bear a living witness of God to all, imitating those priest who, in the course of centuries, left behind them an outstanding example of holiness, often in a humble and hidden service. Their praises lives on in God’s Church. They have the duty to pray and offer sacrifice for their people and for the whole People of God, appreciating what they do and imitating what they touch with their hands. Rather than be held back by perils and hardships on their apostolic labors they should rise to greater holiness, nourishing and fostering their action with an over-flowing contemplation, for the delight of the entire Church of God.”15
  1. 13.And again the Council says: “While it is possible for God’s grace to carry out the work of salvation through unworthy ministers, yet God ordinarily prefers to show his wonders through those men who are more submissive to the impulse and guidance of the Holy Spirit and who, because of their intimate union with Christ and their holiness of life, are able to say with St. Paul: ‘It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me’ ” (Gal. 2:20).16
  1. With the Council, this Synod issues the strongest exhortation to the priests to strive always by the use of all suitable means commended by the Church towards greater holiness that will make them daily more effective instruments for the service of God’s people. In addition to the individual spiritual duties hollowed and sanctioned by the tradition of the Church, it is necessary to institute some means in order to deepen the spirituality of the whole presbyterium.

R-9. The monthly recollection and annual retreat should be considered a duty which every priest owes to himself as a priest. This should be known to parishioners in order to avoid conflict with the demands of the parishioners.

R-10. In the monthly meeting of the priests of the respective vicariates common prayer should be given a place in res, and/or shared faith experience. This will be fostered under the presidency of the Vicar Forane.

R-11. The practice of daily or frequent Holy Hour either before the Eucharistic Lord or in the privacy of the rectory shall be fostered individually or communally among the priest.

R-12. On every First Friday of the month all the priests of the Diocese shall have a simultaneous Holy Hour from 9 o’clock to 10 o’clock in the evening individually or communally before the blessed Sacrament or in privacy of their rectory.

R-13. On special occasion in the life of the priests, such as sacerdotal anniversary, the celebrating priests are encourage to make a general review of their life and ministry.


CHAPTER IV

 THE PRIESTS AS RELATED TO OTHERS

 

  1. 15.A concrete manifestation of ecclesial communions is the oneness and solidarity which priests have with their bishop, with each other and with the rest of the Christian community. The guiding principles expressed in the decree Presbyterorum Ordinis with regards to the relationship with priests should have with the bishop, with their fellow priests, and with the laity16-b must occasionally be the subject matter of priestly reflection.
  1. 16.“Priests,” the 1971 Synod of Bishops says, “will adhere more faithfully to their mission the more they know and show themselves to be faithful to ecclesial communion.” 17 The unity of consecration and mission will certainly be reflected in their adherence to the Bishop with sincere charity and filial obedience, keeping in mind the fullness of sacramental orders which he enjoys.
  1. 17.The Synod is happy to note the good relationship which the priests have among themselves. Jealously, misunderstanding, cliques, which are the enemies of fraternal solidarity should be declared banned from any community of priests. Instead, the bond of intimate brotherhood18 shall be fostered. It is necessary that some kind of community life among priest living in the same area or district be fostered in order to enable them to cultivate in common the intellectual and spiritual life, to promote unity and solidarity among themselves and to preserve them from possible dangers arising from loneliness.19 The spirit of brotherhood and community will become particularly evident in the support they give wen trouble befalls one of them.
  1. 18.“Priests are brothers among brothers.”20 Just as the bishop is the center of unity in the Local Church, so are the parish priest in the parish level in their capacity as representatives of the episcopal order.21
  1. 19.It is profitable to listen to what informed and sincere laymen have sometimes to say about priests – what they expect from them. The Council reminds the priests that “by their daily conduct and solicitude they display the reality of a truly priestly and pastoral ministry.”22 it is not for their own sake only but for the sake of the local community looking up to them that priests take on the road of discipline.

R-14. The priests should be conscious of their duty to give due recognition to the bishop through filial love, obedience and solidarity with him, and they should be open for an honest dialogue with the bishop concerning themselves and their ministry.

R-15. The bond of intimate brotherhood among the priests should be fostered through prayer for one another, mutual invitations, friendly visits, common outings, ministerial bayanihan, and even occasional exchange of assignments to overcome the routine and monotony of the ministry.

R-16. The priests, both active and retired, in the same parish are encouraged to live together under one roof, share a common table, and above all set some time for common prayer. The spirit of brotherhood and community will become particularly evident in the support the clergy give when trouble befalls one of them. This applies too in old age and at time of approaching death.

R-17. A periodic gathering of priests and religious sisters in the vicarial or diocesan level should be encouraged or fostered for their mutual up-building.

R-18. Both priests and laity should accept with compassion and understanding the weakness which each party is heir to as well respect and encourage the different charisms which each enjoy from the one Spirit.

R-19. Listening to the balanced suggestion of concerned laymen as well as following the desire of the Church, this Synod enjoines the priests of the Diocese to avoid or desist from gambling and excessive drinking as they, among other reason, diminish one’s pastoral efficiency and prestige.

 

CHAPTER V

 DISTRIBUTION OF THE CLERGY

 

  1. 20.“The spiritual gift which priests have received in ordination does not prepare them merely for a limited and circumscribed mission, but for the fullest, in fact the universal mission of salvation “to the end of the earth” (AA 1:8). . . Priests, therefore, should recall that the solicitude of all the churches ought to be their intimate concern.”23 Guided by the wise norms of the Code of Canon Law, the competent authority assigns each priest to his particular portion of the Local Church. The priests, therefore, should be mindful of using their talents to the fullest in whatever field of ministry they are assigned.

 

  1. 21.The Synod’s attention I drawn to what the Council says: “As far as possible, however, priests are not be sent alone in a new territory, especially, if they are not yet well versed in its language and customs. Rather, after the example of Christ’s disciples they should be sent at least in groups of two or three so that they may be of mutual help to one another.”24 In this present age, special consideration should be given to the youthfulness, psychological and emotional condition of younger priests who more than their elderly brothers in the priesthood need to be supported as they curry the responsibility of ministry and crucified love.
  1. 22.The present policy in the Diocese provides larger parishes with one or more curates. The senior usually acts as the pastor. The program has its merits and demerits, as study dhows. However, this situation can becomes a fruitful and enriching experience for both the pastor and his curate, if they maintain a harmonious relationship.
  1. 23.In Order that the various forms of the apostolate in the diocese may be properly guided, the bishop appoints directors for each of them.25 In this way, through the directors as well as through as well as through the pastors, he is able to guide his flock and exercise his duty of teaching, sanctifying and governing them. Working within the bond of union with the bishop and their fellow priest, the directors of the various apostolates will be able to help realize the pastoral objectives of the diocese.

R-20. The tenure of office of every priest shall be no more than five years. In case of necessity or under extraordinary circumstances, however, the Bishop in consultation with the College of Consultors may extend e tenure of office of a particular priest to seven years (i.e. two more years added to five).

R-21. The Bishop together with the College of Consultors and those entitled to be heard in the appointment shall give primary consideration to the competence of the priest without prejudice to his spiritual welfare.

R-22. Where it is feasible and needed, consultation with concerned parishioners regarding the parish priest to be appointed may be prudently initiated by the competent authority. A priest should be made a curate or assistant pastor before he become pastor or parish priest. The provision of the new canon law will be followed in the appointment of pastors (Cf. Book II, can. 354, part 2).

R-24. In addition to his other function, the curate or assistant pastor should be put in charge of the parish office, particularly the financial management of the parish, as part of his pastoral training.

R-25. The pastor and his curate or assistant are enjoined to periodically pray and meditate together, find time to share their experiences in the ministry, dialogue and discuss the pastoral plan of the parish and to equitably share the compensation of their ministry.

R-26. As far as practicable, full time directors shall be assigned for the major areas of the apostolate, such as the Commission on the Apostolate of the Laity, the Commission on Service, the Commission on Worship and the Commission on Formation. The other diocesan directors maybe assigned in a concurrent capacity, that is, while holding other responsibilities.

 

CHAPTER VI

 FILIAL PARISHES OR CIRCUMSCRIPTIONS

 


  1. 24.In the Diocese there are a number of filial parishes or circumscriptions, like Aloneros, Ponon, San Andres, Cabay and Calumpang. These are parishes which either do not have full time pastors and therefore are attended to by the priest of the mother parish, or have pastors who are financially dependent on Diocesan Chancery. In the future, on account of the prayed for increase of vocation, the number of such parishes may multiply.

R-27. Instead of supplying proximate filial parishes or circumscriptions with independent pastors, the spiritual welfare of the faithful in these circumscriptions shall be assigned to a body of priests residing in the mother parish presided over by one of them acting either as pastor or moderator according to the norms of the new canon law.

R-28. This body of priests shall live some kind of common life in order that they may mutually support each other spiritually and materially in the fulfillment of their priestly obligations. In this arrangement the body of priests can team with each having his own responsibilities though not independently of the others.

R-29. In the creation of filial parishes, the distance from the mother parish, the psychological, economic, and geographical characteristics of the people, and the deeds of donation (where these are involved) shall be thoroughly studied by the competent persons.

 

CHAPTER VII

 MEANS OF MATERIAL SUPPORT FOR THE CLERGY

 

  1. 25.This Synod takes cognizance of what the Second Vatican Council says concerning the material support of the clergy. “Without prejudice to particular law, priests and bishops should devote primarily to their decent livelihood and to the fulfillment of the duties of their proper state the benefits which they receive when they exercise some church office. Whatever remains beyond that they should devote to the good of the Church or to works of charity.”26 And again, “Dedicated to serving God through the discharge of the task assigned to them, priests are worthy of receiving a just recompense. . . . It is in behalf of the welfare of the faithful that priests labor.”
  1. 26.The Synod notes in particular the inadequacy of the income of many members of the presbyterium, a situation that has required the Diocese to introduce the “program.”28 The large majority of them depends for their daily maintenance on stipends or stole fees collected in accordance with the arancel system.
  1. 27.The Council reminds the priest “not to regard any ecclesiastical office as a source of profit, and not to spend income accruing from it for increasing their own private fortunes” or “for the advantage of their families.”29
  1. 28.Following the guidelines of the Council, a pension and health program has been started in the Diocese.30 retired and hospitalized priests are rather modest. But they can be increased if priests would be more punctual and conscientious in paying their duties.

R-30. The priests are encouraged not only to cultivate hospitality and friendliness but also to share their resources in common, aware that as presbyteral community they must support each other even materially, especially in times of calamity and extreme need, and, and as Christian and priests they have the duty to help the poor and the disadvantaged.

R-31. The priests are strongly encouraged to make a last will and testament after ordination which shall be renewed every now and then as necessity dictates. A copy of this last will and testament must be deposited in the Chancery. Among the beneficiaries of the priests the Diocese of Lucena is recommended as one of them.

R-32. Since the Diocese cannot remain unaffected by the changing economic circumtances of society, the condition of the productive assets of the Diocese must be seriously studied in order that they may be of great use to the entire Diocese without prejudice to their original purposes or the will of donors. The Diocese through the Finance Council purposes or the will of donors. The Diocese through the Finance Council and/or through some priests in-charge shall supervise and regulate the administration of productive lands by means of statutes or instruction as occasion demands.

R-33. This Synod reiterates the recommendation of the 1971 Synod of Bishops that the laity with scientific competence, technical capacity and professional experience be asked to assist in the administration of Church property.

R-34. For the purpose of concretizing the sharing of resources, the Finance Council shall study the possibility of centralizing the funds of the diocese and of compensating the priests according to some system of salary.

R-35. In the meantime that the above Finance Council is undertaking its study, a committee shall be immediately formed to study the feasibility and mechanics of increasing the share of the church (pro ecclesia”) in order that the ordinary food allowances of the priests and residents of the rectory may likewise be taken from it. This will entail reducing the share of the parish priest (“pro parroco”).

R-36. For a better understanding of the financial needs and operation of the parish, the arancel system shall be explained to the people, a copy of which displayed the public, all income properly receipted, an approved system of receipts and disbursement uni-formedly adopted, a monthly statement of income and expense posted for the information of the parishioners.

R-37. This Synod reminds te priest not to regard any ecclesiastical office as a source of profit not to spend the revenues accruing to it for the advantage of their families.

R-38. Guided by the wise norms of the Council, the priests are enjoined by the Synod to limit the resident of their rectories to a maximum of five persons, exclusive of the priests, in order that neither they nor the Church nor the ministry may be unnecessarily burdened. The priests must not allow their families to make undue demands and claims on them; rather they must insist that they leave them free for the Lord and the Christian community.

R-39. In determining the compensation of church workers the social teachings of the Church and the provisions of local legislation should be taken into account.

R-40. A committee of priests shall be tasked with re-examination of the constitution of the diocesan pension plan and supervision of its operations.


 CHAPTER VIII

 THE CLERGY’S CONCERN FOR JUSTICE

 

  1. 29.“The mission of the Church involves defending and promoting the dignity and fundamental rights of the human person.”31 And according to the Bishops of the Philippines, “The Church know that no renewal in Christian life would be true without a corresponding renewal in the area of justice.”32
  1. 30.“While the Church is found to give witness to justice, she recognizes that anyone who ventures to speak to people about justice must first be just in their eyes. . . Within the Church rights must be preserved.”33
  1. 31.Concern for justice eventually leads to “examination of the modes of action and of the possessions and life style found within the Churchherself.”24
  1. 32.32. The Bishops of the Philippines have reminded their priests that “people are edified by priests w(Thathose deportment reflects the sublimity of their vocation. They are not edified when they see priests indulging strange whims in garb and general demeanor.”35 The choices of the priests, in other words, should be in harmony with their calling and profession. The people of God certainly expects a behavior from their priests different from that of the ordinary laymen.

R-41. Both priests and laity, institution as well as individuals, are encouraged to help promote a more just condition in society. For the clergy it means exercising their prophetic mission of patiently and courageously preaching the social doctrines of the church “in season and out of season” (2 Tim. 4:2).

R-42. The clergy should lead the christian community to the discernment of the signs of the times, especially when basic rights of the poor and the powerless are being violated.

R-43. The clergy should lead in promoting the respect and protection of the rights of those who spend themselves working for the spiritual good of the faithful and the Church, whether lay or religious.36

R-44. The sharing in decision-making on the diocesan level should be followed as much as possible on the parochial level. (That is, there should be in the parochial level as well as in the diocesan level a greater sharing in decision-making as well as in responsibility).

R-45. Following the spirit of the 1971 Synod of Bishops, the present Synod asks bishop, priests, religious and laity to adapt a life-style which exemplifies that sparingness with regard to consumption which they preach to others as necessary in order to lessen the gap between the rich and the poor. Futhermore, in the light of the demands off the Gospel, the clergy, in particular, should pledge themselves to that simplicity of life envisioned by the Pastoral Letter of the Philippine Bishops as possessing a pastoral vale highly cherished by the faithful.

R-46. The clergy should see to it that their relationship with the affluent and/or those invested with power and influence in the parish or diocese endangers neither the clergy’s credibility nor the authenticity of the Christian message nor the apostolic freedom.

CHAPTER IX

 CONCERN FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY

 

  1. 33.One of the principal concerns of the whole Church – clergy and faithful alike, is the promotion of unity among all Christians. The Second Vatican Council, through its Decree on Ecumenism lays down the foundation and principles of the Catholics’ involvement in the ecumenical movement.37 First and foremost, every Catholic should be involved in the promotion of Christian unity, for Christ founded only one Church, and hence, the disunity of Christians “openly contradicts the will of Christ”, provides a cause of scandal to the world and hampers the preaching of the good news to the people.38

 

  1. 34.Participants in this ecumenical movement, are all people who profess their belief in the Trinity and in the Lordship of Christ. Though different in the expression of this belief in some manner, nevertheless, everyone seeks with sincerity the one visible and universal Church of God founded by Christ and sent to the world to bring the good news of salvation.39
  1. 35.Moreover, the mystery of unity in the Church is grounded in the unity of the Trinity, Christ Himself has prayed to the Father: “that al may be as one as You, Father, are in Me, and I in you; I pray that they may be one in us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (Jn. 17:21). After His Ascencion, the Lord Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to animate and continually unify the Church in faith, hope and charity. Thus, the Apostle Paul is able to teach that the Church is: “one body, and one Spirit, even as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph. 4:4-5).
  1. 36.The fullness of unity, truth and grace of the Church of Christ is realized in the Catholic Church. However, the separated Churches and Communities, though “they suffer from defects” are by no mean deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation.40 They too are instruments of salvation. For while we hold that the fullness of truth and grace is entrusted to the Catholic Church is equally true that “every element of sanctification and of truth can be found outside of her visible structure.”41
  1. 37.Thus, the Catholic Church, accepting them with respect and affection as brothers, exhorts and encourages the faithful to participate actively in ecumenical activity. Catholics, therefore, are being called to show real and brotherly concern for their separated brethren by praying for them and taking the first initiatives toward them.42
  1. 38.It should be born in mind, that movement toward unity is not possible without corresponding holiness or change of heart on the part of individuals. Ecumenical efforts will fain success only to the extent that the Church and her members are willing to reform and renew themselves. This means that unity as a positive attitude toward one’s fellowmen demands from the follower of Christ a daily conversion to the spirit of the Gospel. “Let all Christ’s faithful remember that the more purely they strive to live according to the Gospel, the more they can achieve depth and ease in strengthening mutual brotherhood to the degree that they enjoy profound communion with Father, the Word and the Spirit.43

R-47. A Diocesan Commission for Ecumenical Affairs shall be established. Its objectives shall be the following:

Main Objective: To promote the authentic purpose of ecumenism, which is the ultimate unity of all christians and at the same time prevent the development of religious indifferentism while avoiding triumphalism on the part of the catholics.

Specific Objectives: (a) to initiate, organize, supervise and coordinate ecumenical activities; (b) to supply the priests and the laity with appropriate literature and to offer help and encouragement for ecumenical instruction and education; (c) to promote through conferences, pamphlets and other means friendliness, cooperation, charity and dialogue between Catholics and their brothers who are not in their communion; (d) after due consultation with the Bishop, to invite and get experts who shall undertake discussions and consulations with other Churches and communities in the diocese.

Membership in this committee shall be determined by the Bishop, who may appoint to this committee diocesan priests, religious and laity.  

R-48. “Spiritual Ecumenism” shall be fostered in the Diocese. Spiritual Ecumenism refers to the “change of heart for the unity of Christians.” The Church Unity Octave or Week of Prayer or Christian Unity on Jan. 18-25 shall be celebrated in all parishes in the Diocese with concrete guidelines and programs from the Diocesan Commission for Ecumenical Affairs. Special days of prayers for unity   may be determined by this commission.

R-49. The Diocesan Commission for Ecumenical Affairs shall make an in-depth study of the forms of ecumenical activities and prepare a program for their implementation subject to the prudence and evaluation of the local ordinary.

CHAPTER X

 COMMITMENT TO THE DIOCESE

 

  1. 39.The clergy of the diocese are constituted “providential cooperators” of the bishop. Incardinated in the Diocese and appointed to a particular section f it, each has a primary role in the care of the souls in that part. Nonetheless, although assigned only to a part of the diocese, the clergy should feel concern also for the universal Church.44 The clergy, therefore, are exhorted to “carry out their ministry of teaching, sanctifying and governing in such a way that the faithful in their respective communities may feel that they are truly part of both the local and the universal Church.”45

R-50. The clergy should give concrete proofs of their commitment to the local church through their unity and cooperation in diocesan projects, activities and conventions where their leadership, especially that of pastors and curates, can be tangibly expressed.

R-51. This Synod reminds the priests that commitment to the ministry as well as the diocese requires fidelity to one’s residence in the parish in order that the Christian community may be promptly served. Taking into consideration the special condition of the Diocese where parishes are far from one another and cover big area, the Synod recommends strict observance of the law of residence without prejudice to the provision of the new norm, canon 367, par. of Book II.

R-52. The priests are enjoined to assiduously avoid secular occupations and activities which are not harmony with their priestly dignity and commitment.

R-53. Like a good steward, every parish priest must keep an inventory of the immovable and movable properties of the church and rectory, update said inventory yearly, and send a copy of it to the diocesan chancery. In transferring to another parish or assignment, the priest concerned must leave behind what have been given to, and, therefore, properly belong to, the parochial church and rectory.

R-54. Any permission to temporarily leave the diocese for study shall not exceed four years.

R-55. Following the obedience of Christ to the Father, and concretizing his commitment to the diocese, each member of the presbyterium should be willing and ready to give up his assignment anytime and to accept another for the sake of the greater spiritual advantage of the faithful.

R-56. Unless necessity dictates otherwise, any priest who plans to temporarily leave the diocese or permanently transfer to another diocese shall be required to first serve the Diocese of Lucena for a minimum period of five years. (The norms of incardination and excardination approved in the church shall be followed.)

R-57. The priest who wants to be incardinated in the diocese shall be required among other things mentioned in Canon Law, the following: a period of probation to be determined by the Bishop, the recommendation of the Board of Consultors and willingness to start s a curate or assistant pastor for a period of three years.

 

CHAPTER XI

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DECREE PRESBYTERAL COMMUNITY

 

R-58. The implementation of this Decree on Presbyteral Community, containing all the approved proposals of the Synodal Committee on Presbyteral Community to the Synodal Assembly shall be put in the hands of the Presbyteral Council which will be the instrument of His Excellency, his sons and co-workers. Towards the achievement of the pastoral vision of the Synod of Lucena.

CONCLUSION AND EXHORTATION

  1. 40.Let the final words be an echo of the voice of the Bishops in the Second Vatican Council:

“This Sacred Council, while keeping in mind the joys of the priestly life, cannot pass over the difficulties too which priests encounter in the circumstances of their life today. . . .

“Let priests remember that in carrying out their task they are never alone but are supported by the almighty power of God. Believing in Christ who has called them to share in his priesthood, let them devote themselves to their office with all trust, knowing that God is powerful to increase charity in them. Let them remember too that they have their brothers in the priesthood and indeed the faithful of the entire world as allies.”46

“Now to him who by the power of work within us is able to do far more abundantly that all that we ask or think, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus (Eph. 3:20-21).

FOOTNOTES:

1 Cf. Pastoral Letter of Bishop Jose T. Sanchez on March 6, 1977 announcing the convocation of the First Diocesan Synod of Lucena.

2 Presbyterorum Ordinis (P.O.) No. 3; Cf. Mt 19/21; Jo. 20/22; Jo. 20/2.

3 P.O. no. 12.

4 P.O. no. 11.

5 Optatan Totius (O.T.) no. 3.

6 ibid.

7 Ratio Fundamentalis and Program of Priestly Training in the Philippines, 1972, p. 31.

8 O.T. no. 4

9 Ratio Fundamentalis etc., p.

10 Christus Dominus (C.D.) no. 15.

11 P.O. no. 12 and 13; Cf. Pope John XXIII, Sacerdotii Nostri Primordia, No. 10 and 11.

12 P.O. no. 13

13 Ministerial Priesthood, a document by the 1971 Synod of Bishops, p. 22.

14 P.O. no. 16 &17.

15. L.G. no. 41.

16 P.O. no. 12.

16-b P.O. 7, 8 & 9.

17 Ministerial Priesthood, p. 27.

18 Lumen Gentium, no. 28.

19 P.O. no. 8

20 P.O. no. 9

21 L.G. nos.23 and 28.

22 L.G. no. 28

23 P.O. no. 10.

24 ibid.

25 C.D. no. 29.

26 P.O. no. 17.

27 P.O. no. 20.

28 P.O. no. 21.

29 P.O. no. 17, cf. both Flannery and Abbott editions.

30 P.O. no. 8 and 21.

31 Justice in the World (J.I.W.), a document by the 1971 Synod of Bishops, p. 19.

32 Education for Justice, a Pastoral Letter of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippine, 1978, p. 2.

33 J.I.W., p. 21

34 ibid.

35 Cf. Pastoral Letter of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines in 1973.

36 New code of Canon Law, Book V, can. 4, par. 2.

37 Unitatis Redintegratio (U.R.), nos. 1-4.

38 U.R. no. 1.

39 ibid.

40 U.R. no. 3.

41 L.G. no. 8.

42 U.R. no. 4.

43 U.R. no. 7

44 Ecclesiae Santae – I, no. 3.

45 C.D. no. 30

46 P.O. no. 22.

   
Monday, April 24, 2017

Circulars and Announcements

Circular No. 3

Circular No. 3
Number 10, Series of 2013 Beloved Members of the Clergy, Greetings of Peace and Joy in the Lord! In response to the desire of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, and the Philippine Bishops headed by Archbishop...
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Circular 2

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Circular 1

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