TALISAY CITY, Negros Occidental – Most Rev. Vicente Navarra, D.D., bishop-emeritus of Bacolod, presided over the holy mass commemorating the 600th death anniversary of St. Vincent Ferrer on April 5, 2019. The novena masses and fiesta celebrations hinged on the theme, “San Vicente: Model of a beloved, gifted and empowered Filipino Youth.”
Bishop Navarra, who was then the local ordinary when the Diocesan Shrine of San Vicente Ferrer was erected here in Talisay in 2014, said that we do not have a “concrete idea about the life of St. Vincent Ferrer when he was still a young man, aged 15 to 39 years old” but as a priest, since he was ordained at age 29, “his homilies were so powerful that they brought so many people back to the Lord.”
This miraculous saint is considered the second patron of the San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish here, with Fray Nino Cesar Ruiz, OAR as the parish priest and rector of the Shrine.
Since the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has designated 2019 as the Year of the Youth, this year’s theme for the feast day of St. Vincent Ferrer, as agreed with and by the Parish Pastoral Council, combined the relevant elements. “We affirm that you [young people] are beloved, you are gifted, you are empowered, and, therefore, you are sent in mission,” Bishop Navarra said.
“What does this mean?” the bishop, then, asked. And he, too, provided the answers: “The youth in the parish of Talisay should continue to live the Christian Faith. It is not enough to be a member of a choir, an organization, or a movement.”
Bishop Navarra turned the spotlight on the need of the young people of today to be convinced, and not to be ashamed nor be afraid of proclaiming their Catholic faith. “You must be proud to show and proclaim with conviction and with joy what you profess when you say ‘I believe in God, the Father Almighty…’”
The prelate concluded by saying that every young person should be reminded that he or she is truly beloved, gifted, and empowered because of the strength of the Holy Spirit received during baptism and confirmation. And like San Vicente Ferrer, the youth should “choose without compromise” the objectively good, true and beautiful, with due respect to the body, the welfare of fellowmen, and the priority of serving others.
Furthermore, to cop the closing program of the yearlong 6th centenary celebrations, the well-participated 5th Palapak Festival was held in the afternoon at the parish grounds.
Photo credits: Matet Guisihan Nacolangga