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A Priest at the Hour of Mercy

Ordination of Fr. Ryan Oliver Bautista, SDB

Parañaque City, the Philippines, 7 April 2018—The bells of the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians tolled at three o’clock in the afternoon. This time, it was not only to signal the time for the prayer to the Divine Mercy. This time, after so long a time, the bells were struck joyously and triumphantly for they have a new priest. The parish witnessed the ordination to the presbyterate of Deacon Ryan Oliver D. Baustista, SDB through the laying on of hands and prayer of the Most Reverend Peter Baquero, Jr., SDB DD the new bishop of Kerema, Papua New Guinea.

“My Lord, and My God!” The celebration took inspiration from the profession of faith of Saint Thomas as heard from the Gospel of John (20:28). His family and about 850 guests were present. Most of them are youth coming from the parishes and Salesian settings were Fr. Oliver served. The family atmosphere was felt. It was an ordination ‘at home’. Fr. Oliver was a youth catechist of the National Shrine prior his entry to the Salesian formation house.

Silence was the hymn that accompanied the solemn rites. The attendees looked on and prayed as the bishop and the priests laid their hands on Fr. Oliver and as they share their fraternal embrace.

Tears broke with smiles on the lips when the Our Father was sang in the traditional tune and language of the ancestral roots of the ordained, Kapampangan (from Pampanga, 100 kilometers north of Manila). It was a special request from Fr. Oliver. It was also a touching song for the Salesians who spent their early formation years in the Juniorate. 

Fr. Oliver asked for prayers as he addressed the faithful after communion. He also invited the young people to follow the call of God and give time to listen to it. He offered flowers to Our Lady Help of Christians before imparting his first priestly blessing to all.

Before entering the Salesians, Fr Oliver was prepared to take up medicine. He may not be a doctor of medicine now, but we are sure that he can bring closer to the people a healing that no man can offer. What a fitting channel of God’s mercy and love, a new Salesian priest!

(Photos by Eliel Etruiste and Mavs Briones of FLiQ Media)

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