The island province of Oriental Mindoro, south of Manila, got new priests after four deacons were ordained at the Sto, Niño cathedral on July 28.
With existing health protocols and limitations brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, only a handful of people were able to attend ceremonies, which were broadcast live online and on radio.
Archbishop Gilbert Garcera of Lipa ordained to the priesthood the following deacons: John Dave Francis Pineda from San Teodoro town; Cesar Valencia Jr. from Pola; Jeffry Jay Coz from Bongabong; and Richard Rodriguez from Pinamalayan.
Archbishop Garcera reminded the new priests of the virtue of patience and told them to always keep their hope in God.
The prelate dubbed the deacons “COVID-babies” who should know how to utilize the internet and other social media platforms to reach out to migrants and those working outside the province.
Break the “ecclesial distancing” brought by the physical and social distancing, be close to the people, said the bishop. “Separate from the people, you can do nothing,” he told the new priests.
The newly-ordained priests finished their Philosophy degree at Saint Augustine Seminary in the city of Calapan and their Theology studies at the Divine Word Seminary in Tagaytay City.
“We are the batch of ordinandi who experienced major struggles,” said newly-ordained priest Pineda. He noted that he was ordained deacon while Taal volcano was erupting in January and ordained a priest in the midst of the pandemic.