This year the SCJ Philippine Region was entrusted with three new pastoral areas. Because of this several SCJs for the first time became parish priests. Although they were assigned in the parishes and have some pastoral experience many things for them are new. Being an assistant to the parish priest is like sitting in the front seat, but not being a driver. According to the Canon Law “The Parish Priest is the proper pastor of the parish entrusted to him… exercising the pastoral care of the community entrusted under the authority of the diocesan Bishop, whose ministry of Christ he is called to share…” (Can. 519). The role of a Parish Priest is twofold: as an administrator and as a shepherd, who acts in the name of the local bishop and is accountable to.
In many dioceses there are special orientation seminars for new parish priests, so they would be properly informed of their duties and responsibilities. One of them is the Diocese of Novaliches, where the SCJs are entrusted with two parishes: San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish in Quezon City and St. Roque in Bagong Silang, Caloocan City.
Following this good example, the SCJ Philippine Region, considering the needs of new parish priests, organized similar activity. Initially it was intended for those who are directly involved in the parish ministry, but finally it was open for all the members of the region. The seminar was held on October 18 – 19, 2016 at the Dehon House in Manila. On the first day, Fr. Rei Flores, the Chancellor of the Diocese of Novaliches, presented the theme “Canonical and pastoral implications of the office of the Parish Priest.” On the second day, Msgr Antonio Labiao, the Vicar for Pastoral Affairs of the same diocese, shared his insights on the theme “Parish Church: Community of Communities” and financial management of the parish. On the first evening, the group was graced with the presence of Bishop of Novaliches, Most. Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, DD, who joined the Holy Mass and supper.