KAKATHA NEWS 2018:
116TH PRIEST-SON CELEBRATES THANKSGIVING MASS IN HAGONOY
KAKATHA NEWS EVENTS 2018
Dated: May 24, 2018
|Parishioners kiss the hand of Fr. Niño Jomel Halili De Leon, the town's 116th priest-son at a novena Mass in honor of Virgen delas Flores at the National Shrine and Parish of St. Anne. Photo Courtesy: Trisha Anne Vega|
HAGONOY, BULACAN – Last Tuesday, a priest who has roots from this town celebrated his first Mass in thanksgiving for receiving the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Fr. Niño Jomel Halili De Leon, 26 led the Eucharistic celebration at the National Shrine of St. Anne at 6:00 in the evening coinciding with the novena in honor of Nuestra Señora de la Purisima Inmaculada Concepcion de la Asociada de Hagonoy (Our Lady of the Most Pure, Immaculate Conception of the Association of Hagonoy), a title of the Blessed Mother special to the hearts of the faithful in the town.
Roots from his father
Fr. De Leon is the eldest son of Napoleon De Leon, who originally lived in Hagonoy and Susana Halili-De Leon of Sta. Maria, Bulacan. He finished his primary studies at St. Paul School of Sta Maria and had his secondary studies and priestly religious formation at the Immaculate Conception Seminary (Minor) and Immaculate Conception Major Seminary in Guiguinto, Bulacan. Despite being raised in a different town, his paternal lineage places him in a list of several priests who have been ordained with roots to what has been called as a "Levitical town". Also, Fr. De Leon has served the town during his assignment at the National Shrine and Parish of St. Anne and St. Anne's Catholic School during his pre-diaconal program late last year.
The blessing of vocations
Reflecting on the Gospel on Jesus' love for serving others, Fr. De Leon said that, "Love must be expressed. It's not just about words. It's about (imitating Jesus) with one's actions." He reflected that in beginning his ministry as a priest, it has always been important to choose to love everyone as God has loved. He said, "God's love is not choosy. He loves everyone. The Holy Spirit comes in his special way (to each of us) because you are preciously loved." According to him, it is this grace in choosing to love everyone that brings meaning to the way of life a priest lives, in the service of the community, guided by the spirit of the Gospel.
A town's heritage
Priestly and religious vocations have been known to come from this town ever since the first known ordination of one of its townsfolk, Fr. Sebastian Dela Rosa De Lara in 1765. Research confirms Hagonoy town has produced 116 priest-sons, 68 of which are alive and assigned in different parishes and communities both in the Diocese of Malolos, other dioceses and in other parts of the world. According to Msgr. Sabino A. Vengco, Jr., "Despite the difficulties in producing priests in today's age, it has been such a blessing for the town of Hagonoy to continue having an abundance in such vocations." He further said, "This is a heritage this town has, an attribution of the townsfolk to the intercessory power of the local patroness, St. Anne, mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary."
With Fr. De Leon's addition into the roster of the town's priest sons, he is automatically a member of the Kapatiran ng Kapariang Taga-Hagonoy, Inc., the priest-sons' association founded in 1971. KAKATHA News Admin.