Despite the world’s continuous battle against COVID-19, Rev. Fr. Neil Javier Cortes received the gift of ordination through the imposition of the hands of Archbishop Jose Palma last July 9, 2020 at the National Shrine of St. Joseph – Mandaue.
“It’s no ordinary time,” said Archbishop Palma.
More often than not, churches during ordination, on normal days, are filled with the faithful who are eager to witness the servant of God receive the priestly vocation.
However, due to quarantine protocols, only few bishops, some priests, and immediate family members were allowed to attend. The rest witnessed it via live stream on Facebook.
Archbishop Palma, on his homily, emphasized ordination as a mission – it is God who chose, and it is He who called.
“God chose you and eventually will send you to where He would like you to go. It is not where we want to go. It’s where the Lord wants us to go,” said Archbishop Palma.
He added that despite the threat of COVID-19, we are united in putting our trust in the Lord.
For this is what the pandemic reminds us – if there is one reason for trusting, it is God.
“Even with COVID, [God] will be with you forever. When COVID is gone, then we enter into the new portal, and whatever blessing we have comes from the Lord. It is also an invitation to be shared to others. Because we [priests] are sent on a mission, and always, it is God’s ways that we discern and follow,” said Archbishop Palma.
Meanwhile, Rev. Fr. Neil shared the inspiration of St. Joseph to his vocation and his life.
According to Fr. Neil, the event was both historical and memorable and may this be a source of inspiration to other people.
“May this [ordination] be an instrument of hope because I lived with hope,” said Fr. Neil.
The event proved that no matter how difficult the situation may be, God is always there, ready to shower and spread His love, goodness, mercy and grace to all.