The Pontificio Collegio Filippino (PCF) in Rome marked its 60th anniversary with the Holy Father granting an audience for the Filipino priests in Rome. It was held at the Sala Clementina Audience Hall in the Vatican, on March 22, 2021.
Fr. Gregory Ramon D, Gaston, rector of the college, reported that Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples accompanied the delegation of resident priests, religious Sisters and lay staff (with their families) in the audience with the Holy Father.
The PCF is a college for diocesan priests from the Philippines pursuing further studies at pontifical universities in Rome, Italy. It was formally established as an institution with pontifical rights by Pope John XXIII on June 29, 1961, through the Papal Bull Sancta Mater Ecclesia.
Currently, the Collegio has 53 student priests: 38 Filipinos, and 15 non-Filipinos coming from dioceses in Cameroon, Congo Democratic Republic, India, Kenya, Nigeria, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Thailand.
As Collegio celebrates its 60th anniversary, Pope Francis in his message shared his thoughts about time as a “God-given gift” that should be used to thank the Lord.
“As we reflect on the anniversaries, I would like to share with you some thoughts about time. Our life takes shape in time and time is itself a God-given gift, to be used responsibly to express our gratitude to him, to do good works and to look to the future with hope,” Pope Francis said.
The Supreme Pontiff also reminded the priests of the reason why they were sent to Rome to study.
“As priests, you are in Rome to study and to receive ongoing formation in the community of this College. You are not being asked to yearn for the parishes you once served or to dream about the “prestigious” positions your Bishop will give you on your return…,” the Pope said.
“Instead, you are being asked to love this concrete community, to serve the brothers and sisters that God has given you, and to take advantage of the pastoral experiences set before you,” he added.
During the audience, the PCF community brought different gifts to Pope Francis: a woven hat and bag made of bariw and buri; a woven scarf locally known as “Patadyon; and a souvenir pen and refrigerator magnet. A ring was also given that was engraved and crafted by a Muslim brother for a Collegio Filippino priest. The engraving on the ring reads, “Truth: Jesus is all-powerful and all-good God.” Lastly, a painting by a Filipino priest was given as gift with the title, “Servire, condividere e proclamare” [To Serve, Share and Proclaim] based on PCF 60th anniversary theme “Called to Serve, Gifted to Share, Sent to Proclaim” (Mt. 23:11). (Jheng Prado/RCAM-AOC)
IN PHOTO | Fr. Gregory Ramon Gaston, rector of Pontificio Collegio Filippino brings gifts to Pope Francis in celebration of Collegio’s 60th Anniversary. | Photo from Vatican Media