This year’s celebration of the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, September 8, 2020, has been a very special one for the Capuchin Philippine Province because of the gift of a new brother priest. On this day, Br. Rolando B. Datu, OFMCap. received from the Lord the grace of ordination to the priesthood. Despite the ongoing Corona Virus pandemic and the many difficulties brought about by this situation, the goodness of the Lord was not hampered. Br. Rolando was consecrated to be a priest of the Lord Jesus Christ and dispenser of his great mysteries. He received the grace of ordination from the hands of Excellency, Most Reverend Honesto F. Ongtioco, DD, Bishop of the Diocese of Cubao.
The celebration commenced at nine thirty in the morning. Present during the mass were the parents and relatives of Br. Rolando who came from Bataan. Brothers from the fraternities of Our Lady of Lourdes, Bahay Capuchino, Sta. Teresita, Quezon City; St. Francis of Assisi, Pulo; St. Lawrence of Brindisi, Tagaytay; Our Lady of Lourdes Seminary and Padre Pio, Lipa City were also present. Some friends and parishioners of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes were also in attendance. Serving during the mass were the Capuchin brothers: the Post Novices 3/Philosophy scholastics as acolytes; Theology scholastics as choir; Br. Dennis B. Jose, OFMCap. as lector; Br. Jhomer C. Pereyra, OFMCap. as psalmist and Br. Evare M. Laborte, OFMCap. as the cantor for the litany of the saints. Brs. Paul Vincent A. Perlado, OFMCap. and John Rey P. Baalan, OFMCap. served as masters of ceremonies for the celebration. Brs. Eugenio P. Lopez, OFMCap. and Domingo C. Velasco, OFMCap. donned the priestly vestments on Br. Rolando.
In his homily, Bishop Ongtioco recalled with great joy his connection with Br. Rolando. During his time as bishop of Balanga, Bataan, Br. Rolando served as a volunteer catechist in his home town in Abucay, Bataan. Bishop Ongtioco then recalled the great sojourn of Br. Rolando during his formation years, his perseverance and the Lord’s graciousness that, after many years, he finally came to the day of ordination. He paternally reminded Br. Rolando of the great mission and responsibilities that are given to him as a priest – to be faithful to the Word and the celebration of the sacraments. Though challenging, he is constantly called to be intimately united to the Lord through his life of prayer.
Ordination is also called consecratio, for it is a setting apart and an investiture by Christ himself for his Church. The laying on of hands by the bishop, with the consecratory prayer, constitutes the visible sign of this ordination. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1538)