January 5, 2012
First Thursday of the Year
RE: Our Personal Life of Piety
My dear brothers in the priesthood:
On this first Thursday of the year, I write to you as brother and father and friend in our holy priesthood to remind you of the primordial importance of piety in our personal and public lives as ordained ministers. Thursday holds a special meaning for us because it was on a Thursday that the Lord instituted the sacrament of holy priesthood together with the holy Eucharist.
Among the many spiritual aids to our personal and public piety as priests, I want to point to the three most important—the daily Mass, the daily Liturgy of the Hours and monthly confession. Please do not allow any day of this year 2012 to pass without celebrating Mass even if it is only the altar server with you, even if there are no intentions offered by the Catholic faithful or even if you are on your vacation or weekly day off. Your fidelity to the Liturgy of the Hours is a promise we made at our ordination. It is a serious matter that deserves our diligent observance. As priests our first duty is to be intercessors for the people of God. Finally, the monthly confession will surely keep our feet on the ground acknowledging our sins yet gazing on the face of the Lord who is rich in mercy. A good penitent will also become a good confessor.
The great need of the Church is for more saints. Let us be holy priests together. Holy men can change the destinies of peoples. Humbly, please ask the parishioners to pray for the sanctification of priests this year. Oremus pro invicem.
+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS
Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan
The Roman Catholic
Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan
(Central Pangasinan, Philippines)