THE FORMATION OF SEMINARIANS
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.
THE ON-GOING FORMATION OF THE CLERGY
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.
DEEPING OF THE PRIESTLY SPIRITUALITY
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.
THE PRIESTS AS RELATED TO OTHERS
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-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.
DISTRIBUTION OF THE CLERGY
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.
FILIAL PARISHES OR CIRCUMSCRIPTIONS
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.
MEANS OF MATERIAL SUPPORT FOR THE CLERGY
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.
THE CLERGY’S CONCERN FOR JUSTICE
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.
CONCERN FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY
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.
COMMITMENT TO THE DIOCESE
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
“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).
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.
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.
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
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.
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.