Bishop Broderick Pabillo, apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila, stressed that priests should work for social change and for the poor to achieve holiness.
In his message during the celebration of the Chrism Mass at the Manila Cathedral on Friday, the prelate said priests have to confront a wide range of injustices in their ministry.
“It is negligence and plain cowardice on my part to be silent in front of injustices suffered by others,” the bishop said in his homily.
Reflecting on the feast of the Sacred Heart, Bishop Pabillo said in his homily that holiness is for everyone, not just for priests and for the religious.
“The devotion to the Sacred Heart calls for reflection and reparation for our sins and the sins of others,” he said, adding that it can be done through prayer and penance as well as works of justice and charity.
“Part of the devotion to the Sacred Heart is to work for justice because there cannot be love and true love if there is injustice,” he said.
The bishop also exhorted the faithful to pray not just for the protection of their priests during the pandemic, but also to pray that “they may be true to their duties”.
“As priests, may our hearts be reformed according to the heart of Jesus, always burning for love even when we are hurt, discouraged and rejected,” said Bishop Pabillo.
Usually held on Holy Thursday of the Holy Week, the Chrism Mass in the Archdiocese of Manila was postponed after the government declared a lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic since March.
This year’s delayed celebration fell on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and attendance was only limited to about 20 priests.
The Philippine capital remains under “general community quarantine,” which prohibits mass gatherings, including religious activities.
In other areas, many dioceses already held Chrism Masses after restrictions on religious gatherings were eased.