The Avenido brothers Jestonie, Jessie James, and Jerson Rey were ordained as new Catholic priests at St. Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral in Cagayan de Oro City on September 8.
The ordination was led by Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Jose Cabantan, which was his first time to ordain three brothers to the priesthood. In his homily, he said that many were amazed and proud that the Avenido brothers will be ordained. (Read: Exclusive Interview: Fr. Vhon Villacarlos Recalls His Life as a New Priest)
Journey to priesthood
The Avenido brothers are all from the Congregation of the Sacred Stigmata of our Lord Jesus Christ. Among the three, Fr. Jessie James (30 years old) was the first to enter the seminary in 2008, followed by Fr. Jestonie (29 years old) in 2009, then Fr. Jerson Rey (28 years old) in 2010.
An article from CDO Dev revealed that they have different ambitions in life, and priesthood is not their “first love.”
Fr. Jessie James initially wanted to become a police officer or an electrical engineer. He even enrolled at Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). Eventually, he ended up as a “Soldier of Christ.”
Fr. Jestonie wanted to become a teacher instead, he became a “teacher of the Lord’s teachings.” Meanwhile, Fr. Jerson Rey dreamed of becoming a doctor. However, God had other plans for him as he became a “healer of spiritual needs.”
The support and love of their family played a significant role in their journey to the priesthood. Their parents helped them awaken their faith, which led them to where they are now.
The Avenido brothers encourage the youth not to fear the call of God, open their hearts once they feel it, and trust themselves. (Read: Fr. Vhon Recalls His Most Challenging Assignment as a New Priest)
Archbishop Cabantan called them a “gift from the Lord” in line with the celebration of 500 years of Christianity.
“Indeed, this is really a gift from the Lord as we celebrate 500 Years of Christianity. The Lord has gifted us with the gift of priesthood. We thank God above all who is the source of this vocation and ministry,” he said.
The prelate also thanked and greeted the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was celebrating her birthday during the ordination. He referred to Mama Mary as the “Mother of Christ, and the mother of all priests, and the mother of the Church.”
In the middle of the Homily, he left an important reminder to the new priests, “We do not become angels after ordination, we remain who we are.” (Read: LOOK: Catholic Priest ‘Father TikTok’ Wins At TikTok Philippines Awards 2021!)
Cabantan reiterated as well that as priests, their accountability is to be fishers of men. “Our accountability, first of all, is to God who calls us to gather people to the Lord and not to us,” he pronounced.
“Our accountability is first to God, and the rest will follow. So we hope in this ordination, through the intercession of Mama Mary, she will help you become truly a holy and loving priest,” he added.
You can watch the ordination here.