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National Retreat for Priests 2023 in Cebu draws over 2,000 participants

By: Niña Mae C. Oliverio - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | November 07,2023 - 05:45 PM

priests retreat

As the first day of the National Retreat for Priests starts today, November 7, over a thousand priests from different dioceses and archdioceses have gathered at the IC3 Convention Center. | CDN photo by Niña Mae Oliverio

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The three-day National Retreat for Priests (NRP) 2023 officially started on Tuesday, November 7, at the IC3 (formerly IEC) Convention Center in Cebu City.

The NRP is organized by the Episcopal Commission on Clergy of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and hosted by the Archdiocese of Cebu.

Sister Fe Barino, the chairman of the working committee, said in a media interview on Tuesday that there were over 2,200 delegates in the NRP 2023.

Initially, their target was to gather 2,000 priests from different dioceses and archdioceses in the country. But as of the deadline, there were 2,200 who officially registered and on Tuesday, there were ‘walk-ins.’

priests retreat

This was the scene on Tuesday morning of November 7 at the registration area for the NRP 2023. | CDN photo by Niña Mae Oliverio

“We are so happy that the priests are coming in very excited,” Barino said.

READ: Church turning to deacons amid shortage of priests

Barino said that the NRP is not just an ordinary event but a homecoming of many priests to Cebu, the cradle of Christianity.

Moreover, Barino highlighted that coming to Cebu is a meaningful experience for the priests as the province celebrated its 500th year of Christianity over a year ago.

“This was supposed to be part of the 500 years Christianity celebration and right now it’s happening here in Cebu. We are so very excited,” Barino said.

She added that she is happy upon seeing the priests from different parts of the country, gathered in one place.

“It’s really like a reunion of priests, coming from all over [the country]. Even if they don’t know each other, knowing they are from different places, I can see that they’ve started to talk about what’s going on in their places,” she said.

Besides the number of participants, Barino said that they also had over 300 volunteers for the activity.

Significant not only to priests

Even if the program is allotted for the priests, Barino said that the event is also significant to the ordinary people, the faithful community.

“As we go along in organizing this event, we realized how important the role of the lay faithful is for the priests. In fact, we have a vision for the National Retreat for Priests being the lay volunteers, we said, ‘This is for the holiness of the priests and the sanctification of the faithful,’” she said.

Barino added that it is also the time for the ordinary people to understand that the priests are also human and that the people should also pray for them.

“Dili mahimo nga we will just be contented, magsige ta’g panaway or mag condemn or mag judge. We really need to pray for our priests because they need our prayers. They are also human beings,” she said.

Meanwhile, Barino also acknowledged the efforts of the different local government units and different agencies who helped them in making the program successful and safe.

The last day of the NRP will be on Thursday, November 9.


Archdiocese of Cebu gears up for national retreat for priests in November 2023

Archdiocese of Cebu to host National Retreat for Priests in November 2023

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TAGS: Clergy, IC3, priests, retreat

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