[Speech] Lord, I am Yours!

What follows is the gratitude speech of one of the newly ordained deacon, Rev. Phil Vincent Dumanacal, of the Diocese of Monterey.

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Rev. Phil Vincent Dumanacal of the Diocese of Monterey gives the speech in behalf of the newly ordained deacons. Photo by Alexander Amora Juni

Good Afternoon!

This vocation is a gift, undeserved, from the Lord. He calls, we respond. The blend of smiles, appreciations, excitements, joy intensifies today’s aura of gratefulness and love. However, deep in the hearts of the newly ordained, our tears illustrate embarrassment and unworthiness. We are not worthy. The Lord’s generosity impels us to belittle and depreciate ourselves. We’ve been hiding from Him, but he searches faithfully. May panahon na nagtago kami sa kanya, ngunit hinanap niya kami. Nakita. Niyakap.

Indeed, when God calls he qualifies. This is our beautiful love story with the Lord. The real essence of love is found only in giving, in serving. We therefore chose the theme: “If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” With your prayers, it is our earnest desire to perpetuate the fruits of Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross by our life as servants of the Church. The Lord ordains us despite our weaknesses and limitations. He knows everything. We are humbled to face all our reservations with filial trust and confidence that this love story will inspire the whole Christian community to once again, trust and love. Thank you Lord!

We thank the Most Reverend Jesse Mercado for his ardent conferral of the Sacred Order to the Diaconate to us. Thank you for showing what it means to be real servants, in a concrete way. Thank you dear Bishop! A sincere gratitude, too, to our respective families: our parents, to those who have made it here, thank you.

To those who were hindered by inevitable circumstances, thank you for your prayers. I am sure, their hearts rejoice because we made a noble decision in our life. Their sacrifices and love shape our hearts to respond generously to God’s call. Their tears and hardships lay concrete on the way to persistence, as St. Monica struggled for her son who later became St. Augustine. Thank you Parents!

We would like to thank in special manner the following for making this ordination possible and meaningful: Fr. Anthony Paul Bicomong, the Provincial Superior of the Philippine North Province, Fr. Godofredo Atienza, Provincial superior of the Philippine South Province, Most Rev. Richard Garcia, bishop of the Diocese of Monterey, Fr. Roy Shelly, Fr. Danny Torres for our wonderful retreat, Fr. Edwin Limpiado for the inspiration and care, Fr. Peter Zago, Fr. Valeriano, Fr. Raymond Ratilla, priests from different dioceses: Cagayan, Tandag, Parañaque and Monterey; the Seminaryo ng Don Bosco community led by our Rector Fr. Henry Mark Bonetti, Don Bosco Canlubang specially THE TRIO of our philosophy years: Fr. Mike, Fr. Joel, and our dear Fr. Provincial, Fr. Paul. Masters and Doctors of Don Bosco Center of Studies, who satisfy our eagerness to know our faith and love for the Lord, and all the Salesians on Don Bosco and concelebrants for your presence and brotherly love. For our friends, classmates and benefactors thank you for your continuous support and prayers. For Don Bosco Calauan Community, you are very lucky, you are very close to the Cross of Christ, thank you for coming, Word and Life Publications’ family, Rinaldi Community, thank you!

Thanks also to Timorese Students in the Philippines, Sisters from Timor, Indonesia and the Philippines. Representative of the ambassador of East Timor, Students affairs of East Timor, Tuloy sa Don Bosco community and our Kenyan, Congolese and African friends.

Archbishop Fransoni endorsed some of his seminarians to do their ecclesiastical studies under the guidance of Don Bosco. In fact, the archbishop was amazed with the dedication and love that the new members of the clergy revealed in their ministry. What I want to say is this: It is not the first time in the congregation to cater formation for the secular clergy; and my experience validates what the Archbishop believed. Salesians are capable of giving up their lives for the love of God, manifested in their love for the young. The young provides them inner joy.  And this is the blood that streams from their hearts. This is their breath, their life.

Let me mention some: Fr. Salvatore Putzu has taught me how to be strong and how to work selflessly for evangelization. He said to me once: “I will work as long as I live, I will just rest when I die.” Fr. Jose Reinoso’s love and holiness replicates Christ’s mercy and compassion. Fr. Henry Bonetti’s constant reminder to give what the people wants from us – God himself. Too many beautiful memories, too many to mention. There’s one thing that is sure… I am thankful for the rest of my life for this beautiful journey with you. You gave me love for the young. Don Bosco will be known in my life!

Diakonia does not cease after presbyteral or episcopal ordination. It continues. It becomes more precise and vibrant everyday. The problem lies when we become what we are actually not. Humility and love fuels us to walk in constant fidelity. Pope Francis says, “The Church does not grow by means of proselytizing but by attraction, by witnessing.” It is always beautiful to realize that we become the reason of people’s holy life. Don Bosco said, “Be cheerful, but let your cheerfulness be sincere, curtailing from a soul at peace with God.” The Lord calls us during this time where love becomes a weakness, where faith becomes a desperation, and where hope becomes a harassment to the soul. The world labels people. Humanity suffers from hatred and arrogance.

This ordination reminds us that love is still real. I was asked once, by one of the young people in my apostolate: “May Forever nga ba?” I would say “Yes.” God’s love is infinite and forever.

We cannot outdo Christ in generosity, in love. It is our hope and prayer that our ministry will be a ministry of life-giving love, that our lives may glorify the Lord forever, that our lives may inspire others to become holy. That we may be faithful always to the Salesian maxim: “Da mihi Animas Caetera Tolle.” With this intention, please… please accompany us with your prayers.

Thank you and May God bless you all.

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