DAGUPAN CITY, Philippines - Last April 28, 2021, on the Feast of St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, around 9 in the morning, the Montfort Missionaries - Philippine Delegation, together with the Montfortian family in Dagupan took part in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist and the Installation of Rev. Fr. Rene Bustillo, SMM as the New Director of the Chaplaincy of Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort. The Holy Mass was presided by Most Reverend Socrates Villegas, D.D., Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan and was concelebrated by some Montfortian priests, namely: Rev. Fr. Richard Magararu, SMM, Rev. Fr. Angelito Pusikit, SMM, Rev. Fr. Santiago Casing, SMM, Rev. Fr. Benjie Notarte, SMM and Rev. Fr. Federick Yumang, SMM. It was held at the gymnasium of Judge Jose De Venecia Memorial Senior Technical Vocational School in Bolosan. Before the start of the Mass, there was a short procession of the images of St. Louis-Marie de Montfort and the Blessed Virgin Mary. In front of the altar, images of the different patrons of every chapel were there to remind us also of the unity and participation of everybody in this celebration.
During the homily, Bishop Soc talked about the Good Shepherd and the important role of Fr. Rene in leading the community just like the previous Montfortian priests who were assigned there. He said that “the Good Shepherd takes care, the Good Shepherd leads and the Good Shepherd guides”. He added that in the heart of every priest, he is not only a shepherd but also a lamb. It means that the mission of the lamb is not only to provide wool for human needs as clothes but there will come a time that the lamb will be slaughtered in the altar for the forgiveness of sins. The mission of priests like Jesus Christ is to be a lamb that will be the sacrificial offering for the forgiveness of the sins of all humanity. It is a difficult task that is why they sacrificed to leave their homes, family, career and aspirations just like what Fr. Rene did to become a priest. He asked Fr. Rene to be a father and a mother to his community, because in the heart of every priest is a heart of a father - a good and responsible father to his family. He explained further that in the heart of every priest, is also a mother because there resides the heart of the Virgin Mary. He challenged the people to check the heart of Fr. Rene as he leads them, that is, if he still has the heart of a shepherd, the heart of a lamb, and the heart of the Virgin Mary, for these are the contents of the heart of a priest. At the end of the homily, he thanked Fr. Rene and welcomed him back in Dagupan to serve the people and he gave him his support and prayers for his new mission.
Immediately after the homily, the Rite of Installation took place. Rev. Fr. Santiago Casing, SMM, one of the council members who represented the Delegation Superior, read the appointment letter to all those present. Then the whole assembly witnessed the installation of Rev. Fr. Rene Bustillo, SMM as the new Director of the Chaplaincy of St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort through the guidance of Bishop Soc. The Holy Mass continued in the spirit of a joyful feast while following the health protocols of wearing face masks and observing social distancing.
Before the final blessing, Fr. Rene delivered his words of thanksgiving to all the people who worked hard to make the whole event possible. He also thanked the different Montfortian communities who joined the event and all who took part to show their concern and love. He asked for prayers from the people so that he could lead them all to God’s abundant grace and endless mercy.
After the Eucharistic celebration, everyone proceeded to the St. Joseph Chapel in Salisay where the convent is located and shared a simple meal that was made possible through the generosity of the community.
Indeed, God truly blessed the occasion to make it memorable and meaningful to everyone. Despite of the present pandemic, He showed them the way and made this momentous event a success.
St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, pray for us!
Bro. Francois Leonard Ancheta, SMM