A packed congregation at Sta. Cruz Church, Manila, Saturday morning of February 4, sat in joyous anticipation as the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament (Province of Our Lady of the Assumption) and the families and friends of Rev. Leonard Ayuyao, Rev. Renoir Oliver, Jr. and Rev. Marc Bryan Adona came together to witness their Ordination to the Priesthood during an ordination solemn Mass.
The three are all from Luzon (the Northern part of the Philippines). Rev. Leonard hails from the Province of Laguna, Rev. Renoir, from the Province of Camarines Sur and Rev. Marc Bryan, from the Province of Ilocos Sur. The three studied at the San Carlos Graduate School of Theology (Archdiocese of Manila). After their Diaconal Ordination in August 2016, they were assigned in three SSS Pastoral Communities for almost six months – Rev. Leonard in Taguig City (San Vicente Ferrer Parish), Rev. Renoir in Tacloban City (Blessed Sacrament Parish) and Rev. Marc Bryan in Cagayan de Oro City (Nuestra Seňora Virgen del Rosario Parish).
The three men took different paths to their vocation, but they stood side-by-side as Most Rev. Sofronio A. Bancud, SSS, D.D., Bishop of Cabanatuan, presided at the celebration of the Mass of Ordination for them. The good Bishop told the congregation that the three “are to be consecrated priests, that is, to be God's special gifts and blessings that are meant to build up the body of Christ, the People of God.” He then admonished the three, saying, “Take hold of your many experiences of an intimate encounter with Jesus, so that relishing these encounters you may allow the Lord and his living words to find their rightful place in your heart and in your soul.”
The Rite of Ordination includes postures and gestures of deep significance. These are Kneeling, Prostration and Laying on of Hands.
The three candidates knelt before the bishop to pledge their “Promise of Obedience.” The posture of kneeling is taken from Christ himself when he went to the Mount of Olives to pray on the night he was betrayed (Lk 22:39-41). Thus, it is but fitting that the candidates kneel as Christ knelt to show their unity at this time of approaching suffering of the Son of Man and which the candidates could also experience in their ministry.
Prostration, which is lying face down on the floor of the sanctuary, symbolizes the candidates’ unworthiness and their dependence on the prayers of the Christian community. During this rite, the bishop, priests, and parishioners chant the Litany of Saints to ask for the intercession of the saints for support and strength on behalf of the candidates.
The Laying on of Hands marks the time when the candidate becomes a priest. By this ritual, first the bishop and then the priests pray and entreat that the Holy Spirit come down upon the candidate. The “laying on of hands” then becomes not merely a symbolic action but a transformative gesture - the three candidates become priests.
As traditionally practiced before the entire service comes to a close, the assignments of the three newly ordained priests were announced by Fr. Provincial: The Rev. Fr. Leonard Ayuyao goes to the SSS community in Great Britain-Ireland, the Rev. Fr. Renoir Oliver, Jr., to the SSS community in Tacloban and the Rev. Fr. Marc Bryan Adona, to the SSS LaSallian community.
Praise and glory to God who is the source of the vocation to the priesthood. All thanks for the love, prayers and support of the families, relatives and friends of the newly ordained. Please continue to accompany our brothers with your prayers.
By Fr. Josepph Matitu, SSS