Bishop Julito Cortes of the Diocese of Dumaguete has exhorted the six graduates of the St. Joseph Seminary College to seriously go into a spirit of discernment to consider pursuing the vocation to the priesthood.
Speaking during the 54th Liturgical Graduation Exercises of the St. Joseph Seminary College Sunday afternoon, he thanked them for their generosity to study and complete their degree in A.B. Philosophy.
The graduates of the Justitia Et Quantum Class of 2017 are John Ric Academia Abordo, Eugene Vincent Bajar Academia, Francis John Acabal Angay, Quincy Jay Torres Cañete, Neil John Berondo Dael, and FN Jun dela Peña Vicoy.
Cañete and Vicoy graduated cum laude.
The graduation rites started with a concelebrated mass with Cortes as presider and homilist, followed by the program proper where academic excellence and special awards were given to deserving seminarians.
Cortes' homily focused on the readings of the 3rd Sunday of Lent, on the importance of water, where he also incorporated his message to the six graduates.
Just like Jesus in Samaria and the Israelites in the desert who experienced the thirst for water, Cortes told the graduates that they, too, should reflect “on water, and on our experience of thirst for water”.
“Water is an indispensable part of our life”, from babies conceived in their mothers' wombs, living in water, to receiving the sacrament of Baptism with the use of water, and even water's important role in sustaining human lives and all other living things like trees and animals on earth.
He highlighted the importance of water in the life of Jesus, who performed his first miracle at the wedding at Cana by changing water into wine.
“As graduates of St. Joseph Seminary College, I expect you, my dear seminarians, to possess critical as well as articulate minds”, he said. “Critical in the sense that you are able to distinguish truth from untruth, reality from illusion, nuances, if not the hidden message of meaning, in a certain expression”.
He added that they have wrestled with philosophers the past four years of their life and he said he hopes that they have “become mentally tough to combat the wily, insidious craft of virtual trolls in our society today”.
Cortes expressed optimism that the seminarians, especially those who will proceed to study theology, “thirst for God” as they desire to become future priests of the Diocese of Dumaguete.
He told the seminarians three important thirsts that he said will define them for life. The thirst for silence, for prayer and for mission.
He said he hopes that the six graduates, in their discernment, find the desire to continue to be generous to respond to the call to the priesthood.
“However, it is really the Lord who calls in the end and we entrust to Him all of this, especially when we are at a time beleaguered and the church is being questioned”, Cortes stressed.*JFP
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