Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 22, 2002
Archbishop ordains its first Filipino priest
Fr. Joselito Cantal weeps for joy during kiss of peace
By RENATO GANDIA
WCR Staff Writer
As the clergy of the Archdiocese of Edmonton gave Father Joselito Cantal the kiss of peace, he was continually wiping tears away from his eyes.
"They are tears of joy, happiness and hopefulness. I hope that I become a worthy servant of God," Cantal told the WCR right after his ordination to the priesthood at St. Joseph's Basilica, April 16.
Cantal, 37, is the first Filipino seminarian to be ordained a priest for the archdiocese. The Filipino priests presently ministering in the archdiocese all came already ordained.
He is also the first of three priestly ordinations slated for the next month. Collins will ordain Deacon Michael Mireau on April 30 and Deacon Paul Kavanagh on May 22.
"I really feel now that the Lord has called me and has chosen me to serve the people. Although I am not worthy, I truly believe that God is the one working and guiding me along," Cantal said.
"Now I am ready to serve God and his people," the new priest said. "I am also happy that the Filipino community supported me and attended my ordination."
The basilica was packed with almost 80 per cent Filipino attendees.
Archbishop Thomas Collins, who ordained Cantal, said in his homily, "To be a priest of Christ one has to take three missions: that of an elder, an ambassador of Christ and the Good Shepherd."
Collins told Cantal, "As an elder of the Church you are a part of a reality greater than yourself because you belong to a community."
This means that one has to continually study, pray and reflect to be able to minister better to the people with the help of the co-elders and the bishop, Collins said.
In his ministry, the archbishop advised the newly-ordained priest "will be called to preach the Gospel occasionally with his lips but mostly by his life."
Father Martin Carroll, Cantal's supervisor during his pastoral internship and his transitional diaconate, said, "He's been a great asset to the parish in working with the young people in our schools."
Carroll noted that the new priest has been well received by students and teachers in the Catholic schools in south Edmonton. "His ministry to the schools has been a great help to St. Theresa's Parish because we have so many schools."
One of the qualities that Carroll appreciates about the new priest is "his willingness to serve. He is always willing, very willing to be of service to the Church."
"He has the ability to speak to the children at the level that they would understand what he was talking about."
Among those at the ordination were parishioners from St. Alphonsus and St. Paul, where Cantal spent a year of pastoral internship in 1999 to 2000.
A long-time friend from Calgary Diocese, Father Tito Ranola, noted that Cantal was industrious even as a seminarian.
"I have seen him metamorphosed into an able minister of the Church through the years," Ranola said.
Ron Madley, parish council chair at St. Alphonsus, told the WCR, "His faith has brought him this far and I can see a wonderful future for him. I know that his desire to serve the Lord has led him to this day. I wish him all the success wherever he goes as a priest and pastor."
Cantal holds a bachelor of theology from Newman Theological College.
For his pastoral training while at St. Joseph Seminary, Cantal helped in the RCIA programs of St. Joseph Basilica and Holy Trinity Parish in Spruce Grove.