After more than two months of community quarantine imposed upon the City of Bacolod and the Province of Negros Occidental which subsequently caused the suspension of public Masses, the clergy of the Diocese of Bacolod was finally able to gather for the renewal of their priestly promises before Most Rev. Patricio A. Buzon in the Chrism Mass held on June 6, 2020 at the San Sebastian Cathedral, Bacolod City.
For his homily, the Bishop delivered an intimate address to the clergy, his closest collaborators in the ministry, in the form of a letter entitled, “A Letter to my Brother Priests.”
The Bishop shared three salient points. He expressed his gratitude to the clergy, as well as imparted words of paternal wisdom on the virtue of obedience, and reiterated the call to conversion in relation to the spirituality of stewardship.
First, Bishop Buzon thanked the priests for “being true pastors to the flock entrusted to [them] by the Lord during these most trying days of the pandemic.” Furthermore, the Bishop commended the efforts made by parishes in sustaining not only the spiritual needs of the people by finding alternative ways of evangelization, but also their more basic need for food and medicine through initiatives such as organizing food banks.
Secondly, according to the Bishop, a lesson can be derived from all the confusion and chaos the pandemic has brought most especially in the line of communication between the national government and the local Covid-19 task force, and in turn, also between the Office of the Bishop and the parish priests particularly in the suspension of Masses. However, the Bishop underscored the importance of obedience as virtue and guide, without which the community will be drained of its “life and vigor”.
Thirdly, the Bishop echoed Pope Francis’ call for conversion when he expressed that the pandemic can provide a perfect opportunity for the conversion of individuals, of the Church, and of the government.
“My hope is for a new life and a new people; a new politics and a new economics where man is valued above profit, and common good above personal interest; a new attitude towards life and creation that is more caring and responsible,” the Bishop said.
The Chrism Mass has been postponed twice before it finally pushed through.