Fr. Viola of the Feast of St. Francis Xavier: “Stay Connected with your Batch-mates”

Rev. Fr. Jaime Danilo Ll. Viola, Parish Priest of St. Mary Magdalene Parish, Bula, Camarines Sur presided over the Eucharistic celebration of the Feast Day of St. Francis Xavier, Patron Saint of First Year Philosophy Class last December 4, 2017 at the Good Shepherd Chapel.   At the beginning of his homily, Fr. Viola jokingly said that he found it hard to draft a homily fitting for the celebration, giving the several elements to consider in his preparation. However, his homily proves to be something every seminarian should ponder upon.   He said that what lies behind the success of St. Francis Xavier’s success in his mission is his faith in God, coupled with his concern for the salvation of the people and with the people’s relationship with God. These threefold elements, Fr. Viola asserted, are the things that seminarians should adopt in order to be good servants of the Lord.   Closer to the heart of everyone present, he mentioned a “wonderful” thing that he discovered about the Saint being commemorated. He said that St. Francis Xavier, along with St. Peter Faber, was one of the first six companions of St. Ignatius of Loyola. These three have been schoolmates and roommates at the University of Paris.   “Even after their parted ways for the missions, they stayed connected with each other. St. Francis Xavier corresponded with St. Ignatius of Loyola through letters, telling him about his missions, advising St. Ignatius to ‘upgrade their approach’ depending on the missionary area they’ve been trying to enter”, Fr. Viola narrated.   Fr. Viola said that seminarians should follow the examples of these three saints.   “Kun an batch nindo makaparadi na, kanya-kanya na kamo (If your batch will become priests, you will all go your separate ways) but take time and effort to stay connected with each other, spend time together and be in contact with each of your batchmates.”   He said that priests have a unique way of understanding a fellow priest’s struggles that a lay person cannot fully understand, sometimes causing scandal or misinterpretations. He further added that fellow priests, especially batch-mates, should have the charity to be each other’s listener, counselor and confessor since they are the ones that can truly understand a fellow priest’s situation.   He made the seminarians aware of the reality of the seminary life saying “Not all of you will be priests. However, keep in touch, nevertheless. [To those who will not be priests] be good Catholics, a good family man, a good citizen.”   “Pag dai ka nakapadi, giromdomon mo man si batchmates mong padi. Tawi man nin kwarta, regalo, sapatos o anuman na ikatao mo. Labi sa gabos, tawi nin advice o suhestyon sa perspectibo nin sarong laiko na nakakasabot nin buhay-padi, ta minsan kang naging seminarista asin aram mo an sakit na inaagihan nin sarong padi sa pakikisalamuha sa mga laiko.” (If you will not become priests, remember your batch-mates who have become one. Give them monetary aid, gifts, shoes or whatever you can. Above all, give them advice and suggestions on the perspective of a lay person who understands the priestly life since you have been once a seminarian who knows the struggles of a priest in dealing with the lay people).   He said that connections and communications among friends, have been an important factor in the life of St. Francis Xavier. This too, he said, is the one that every seminarian must not forget.   St. Francis Xavier is a Jesuit Missionary who have evangelized Asia including Japan, Goa and India and South East Asia. He is one of the several well-known Patrons of Mission and performed several miracles even during his lifetime.             by: SEM. RYAN ZAFE, PRE-THEO