By Jan Odivilas
Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, Cebu City, The Philippines, 24 October 2020 -- The Salesian Society of St. John Bosco in the Philippines, South Province (FIS), celebrated the ordination to the Order of Presbyter of Rev. Fr. Erwin Joey E. Cabilan, SDB. It was a gathering that was attended by only a few selected people from the Salesian family in order to maintain the minimum health protocols imposed by the local government amidst the Covid pandemic. Yet, it did not lack the solemnity & reverence that is due to this kind of sacred ceremony.
Some Salesian priests, together with the Provincial Superior of FIS, Fr. Godofredo Atienza, SDB, joined the ordaining prelate, Bishop Midyphil Billiones, DD, Auxiliary Bishop of Cebu, in ordaining Fr. Erwin. It was also attended by representatives of the different groups of the Salesian Family—Salesian Cooperators, ADMA, FMA Sisters and some past pupils. The different Salesian settings were also represented by a few of their members. The Holy Mass was accompanied by a grand choir which was composed of the Salesian Music Ministry and the Aspirants of Don Bosco Formation Center.
What was noticeably missing in the ceremony were the parents and relatives of Fr. Erwin. All of them are from Davao City in Mindanao which made it impossible for them to attend this once in a lifetime event because of the travel restrictions. However, livestreaming was offered as an alternative. The host church, the Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, provided a live feed in Facebook for all to join the occasion, albeit virtually.
Amidst the strict government restrictions and health protocols, the Ordination of Fr. Erwin consummated beautifully without any untoward incident. It was a day of thanksgiving to the Almighty for the FIS for having given the province a new priest. For Fr. Erwin, it was the start of his journey of service for the God’s people especially the young whom he has dedicated his life.