In the last five years, the
Commission on Clergy under the able leadership of its Chairman, His Eminence, Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal, has became most relevant and most responsive to the needs of the clergy in the Philippines.
A series of national
consultations on the ministry of the Clergy has been conducted in Cebu under the sponsorship of Cardinal Vidal. There were four national consultations that began in 1990, in preparation for the Second Plenary Council of
the Philippines. After PCP II other consultations followed, mainly to discuss the implementation of the decrees and resolutions of PCP II.
From all these consultations has emerged the one hard reality, that there is
need for ONGOING FORMATION, and the need for RENEWAL for priests in the country. And corollary to this was the need to motivate priests in every diocese to involve themselves in ongoing formation programs.
connection there was also the need for a Renewal Center to serve the needs of the clergy from all over the country, and the need to provide programs suited to the particular needs of the Filipino Clergy.
Also felt was
the need to strengthen the diocesan structure of the Commission. Bishops were asked to appoint representatives to the National Commssion so that dioceses could avail of programs slated on a national level.
to the needs that have surfaced in the consultations, particularly that of Ongoing Formation/ Renewal of the Clergy, theCommission has embarked on three programs :
1)An academic program offered by IPRES/Adamson University, with Msgr. Manuel Gabriel as Director. This is a two-year course leading to a Master of Arts degree in Theology, major in Pastoral Studies and Renewal.
2)A three- month Intensive Renewal course for diocesan priests conducted by Msgr. Gabriel and Father Manny Guazon.
3)A month-long Renewal Program offered by the Bahay Pari
Renewal Center of the Archdiocese of Manila every month of February, headed by Msgr. Chito Bernardo.
To bring the ongoing formation program to the diocesan level, a formation module called Retreat-Seminar
has been introduced. The idea here is to have diocesan rpresentatives undergo the Retreat Seminar experience, then facilitate these in their own areas that may request for such seminars.
At this point, in their
desire to strengthen the mass base and structure of the Commission on the diocesan level, the Commission appeals to the bishops to send in the questionaires and names of the representatives.
In July 1994 the
Commission on Clergy sposored a forum on sexual problems or issues that priests face, and ways to help bishops handle these problems. This forum deemed necessary because of rising cases of sexual abuse among the Clergy,
and the danger of media capitalizing on this situation. A follw-up forum on the same topic is being planned for sometime in the future.
Another area of concern to bishops is where to send priests who need professional
help due to emotional or psychological problems. The Commission is teaming up at present with existing centers involved in such work: Emmaus Center, Our Lady of Peace Guidance Center, and the center of Fr. Kim Suela.
Among the Commission's plans for the future is the construction of a Renewal Center in Tagatay City. The plan is a joint venture of the Commission on Seminaries and the Commission on Clergy. The place and property are
already set in Tagatay. The one remaining problem is to get more benefactors to get construction going.