Twenty Years and Nine
Updated: Apr 8, 2019
It was twenty-nine years ago to this day - April 3 - that the faithful of Butuan witnessed the fecundity of the priestly vocation in the diocese. Then Bishop of Butuan, Most Rev. Carmelo DF Morelos, DD, conferred the sacrament of the holy orders to ten young men who made history as the most number of priests ordained at the same time in the diocese. Most of them were the pioneering priest-graduates of Saint John Vianney Theological Seminary in Cagayan de Oro which was established in 1985. These ten priests, who are one year short of celebrating their Pearl Anniversary, are still actively serving the Church as pastors of their flock. They are Rev. Frs. Felicito Cepeda, Jr., Leonardo Guiritan, Raffy de Gracia, Eduardo Teo, Vicente Cajegas, Joesilo Amalla, Dennis Mira, Santiago Ybañez, Kits Butardo, and Vincent Blanco. Two of them are on mission abroad, another serves the Archdiocese of Cebu, while the rest are assigned in various ministries and parishes in the diocese. During this time of challenges in the Church, the faithful are encouraged to pray more fervently for our priests and their ministry.
The pioneering group of seminarians who graduated from Saint John Vianney Theological Seminary in Camaman-an, Cagayan de Oro. Eight of them are from the Diocese of Butuan who were popularly known as the "Priest of the Nineties". Not in the picture are Rev. Frs. Joesilo Amalla and Vince Blanco.