[COLUMN] Greetings! 

WE now have Fr. Ramon Reyes as our new associate pastor at Incarnation Church. He’s a 31 year old newly ordained priest.

We welcome Fr. Ramon with love, joy, and peace. We pray that his first pastoral assignment will be fruitful and fulfilling.

He’s the first to say that he has much to learn. But he also knows he has many gifts to share with our people. He’s eager to minister to our parish’s youth and young adults while not forgetting other age groups. He will be involved in school ministry and help me with pastoral care to the sick, homebound, and bereaved families.

He will be a brother priest, a co-worker, and a team player. As he learned from his training in the seminary, he will collaborate and journey with our staff, lay leaders, volunteers, and others in fulfilling Christ’s mission of evangelization, teaching, and service.

He will often learn to trust God, the “master of the harvest,” and rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to meet the challenges of ministry, carrying “no money bag, no sack, and no sandals.” Indeed, he’ll depend on the generosity of God and the people he serves.

He realizes the urgency of the times to keep proclaiming the values of Christ’s Kingdom. So, as Jesus told his disciples in this Sunday’s (July 3) Gospel, there is no time for dilly-dallying for the harvest (the mission) is so great.

He’ll try to keep a balanced life of work, prayer, study, and rest. It’s what he learned in the seminary. So we will be hospitable to him by respecting the time he needs for prayer and rest. We’ll remind him of this need to take care of himself.

We need good and holy priests for “the harvest is abundant, and the laborers are few. And so, we keep praying for more young men like Fr. Ramon to respond to God’s call to the priesthood. We hope his stay with us for three years will bring about young vocation candidates from our parish.

Indeed, God calls some of us to the Holy Orders, but let’s not forget that he called us all too common priesthood founded in the sacrament of baptism. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us, “by Baptism (the baptized) share in the priesthood of Christ, in his prophetic and royal mission.” (CCC, 1268)

Blessings to all, and Happy 4th of July!

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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Fr. Rodel “Odey” Balagtas is the pastor of Incarnation Church in Glendale, California.


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