April 18, 2024

Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted. Praise the Lord, for he is good; sing praise to our God, for he is gracious; it is fitting to praise him.
The Lord rebuilds Jerusalem; the dispersed of Israel he gathers. He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds. He tells the number of the stars; He calls each by name.
Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; to His wisdom there is no limit. The Lord sustains the lowly; the wicked he casts to the ground. (Psalm 147:1-2, 3-4, 5-6)
Prayer is my humble way to thank all of you for your birthday greetings, presence, support, and above all, love.
As a priest, I am duty-bound to pray for you but as a humble person, it is my way of realizing that without you journeying with me, I am not capable of serving and working for peace.
I thank my Mama Carol Castaneda and my siblings, my family, nephews and nieces, and my cousins that despite the many public and church work I share to them, they do not complain but find joy in doing.
Family is still the home where authentic love and selfless love happen. It is still in the family that healing happens when the family will simply embrace a weak and sickly person at home.
Ideally, the presbyterium is supposed to be the home for a priest to heal and be comfortable, but when reality speaks, it is still the family at home. But I am grateful to my brother priests for the fraternal correction and fraternal accompaniment in the priestly life.
Personal differences, different family backgrounds, different principles and talents, and different priorities are realities too, but my strongest hope is for every priest to realize that priesthood is one’s participation to bring each one to God. It is very inspiring to experience priesthood as collaboration of talents, time, and treasure for the good of the people.
Priesthood is not a committee of ordained ministers. It is a ministry to mean the synodality of ordained ministers.
Priesthood is not an obligation where a priest does his job because of the presence of superiors. Priesthood is a responsibility to mean the natural and spontaneous incarnation of service in the vineyard of the Lord.
It is my fervent joy to serve not as an obligation but as a ministry. In effect, there is a quality output and a more meaningful living out of priestly life.
It is not tiring to serve when the motivation is pure service and for the good of the people. I realize that work becomes burdensome and tiring when service is motivated by money, award, renumeration, and law.
There is joy in serving when it is selfless. Selfless and voluntary services are doors and windows for God’s blessings.
I truly understand the beautiful lines of Bishop Francisco Claver, SJ: “You are ordained not for your family and not to enrich yourself. You are ordained for the church. You are ordained for the people. You are ordained to serve the spiritual needs of the people.”
Third, I thank faithful and sincere friends who will simply take the responsibility of working and collaborating with me to realize beautiful advocacies for the common good and for good governance.As the song goes, “Faithful friends are life’s best treasures through the years.”
I want to special mention manong Hermie Castañeda for taking time to organize the cooking during the birthday celebration. I remember having big events and activities, manong Hermie will not fail me in the food preparation.
I thank as well Fr. Robert Dulnuan, Jr. for lively facilitating the impromptu program. I planned for a simple celebration but volunteers came and abundant blessings coupled for sumptuous meals. Thank you!
I thank the Teng-ab family, with Fr. Vincent Sagandoy, Fr. Michael Tokoyen, Fr. Pablo Lumiwan, Fr. Robert Dulnuan, Fr. William Bilag, Samy Maggan, Emie Sagayo, Bro. Melchor Sowaken, Bro. Norton Decoy, Dandan Del Coro, Lawagan Yadyadan, and the staffand personnel.
Again, prayer is my simple way to thank you. “I thank my God each time I think of you and when I pray for you I pray with joy.” (Philippians 1:3)
Reach me at [email protected].