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Legaspi tells people - Mass is not for propaganda

Caceres Archbishop Leonardo Z. Legaspi, O.P., D.D. says in his homily during the Chrism Mass on March 20, Holy Thursday, at the Naga Cathedral that “truth is not defined by political interests and their anointed messengers. All political truth is partial and tainted; only the truth of Christ is pure and whole – and the truth of Christ cannot be grasped by those who manipulate His Church and instrumentalize the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, reducing it to the level of a political tool for political ends and propaganda.”
Legaspi’s three-part homily reminds the faithful that that Jesus Christ is the center of (our) priesthood and cites that during the Last Meal of Jesus Christ, “not only was the priesthood born but the Church herself.”
The Chrism Mass celebrates Christ’s institution of the Church during His last supper.  During the mass, the clergy renews priestly vows before the bishop. Addressing his concelebrant Bishop Jose Rojas, his “Brother Priests,” and the deacons, Legaspi’s homily sheds light on his stand about issues hurled against the Archdiocese.
In the wake of accusations that Legaspi, in support of the Arroyo Administration, prohibited Caceres priests to say mass during Jun Lozada’s planned visit, the homily emphasized the mission of the Church.
“We have seen these days the many attempts of politicians and media to redefine and reduce the Church to be mere appendage of politics, a puppet dancing to its tune and humiliating her when she rejects their demands.”
“But our response to these attacks and propaganda is not by engaging the world at the level of politics but by elevating our arguments to the reality that the center of the life of the Church and of her priests – is not politics or power but a person – Jesus Christ. The Church and her priests exist because of Him and to be with Him in His life and mission.”
Legaspi stresses the role of the priests as shepherds; while they need to understand the political choices open to the people, the decision must be made by the people themselves. He calls on the priests to ensure that the people “do not fall into hopelessness.” Legaspi says that priests need to sustain the people’s spirit as they make difficult decisions. To do this, he continues, priests need to ask themselves and the people, to pray and to trust God.
In an interview, Fr. Luisito A. Occiano, Director of the Caceres Commission on Communication, says that the accusation that the Caceres priests are loyal to the Arroyo Administration is “without basis.”
“The Caceres clergy as an institution under the leadership of our Archbishop, has always been non-partisan. The directive not to say mass in a public place during political rallies does not apply to one political group only. It applies to all. But anyone who wants to attend mass in Church is always welcome.”
During the Chrism Mass, the bishop also blesses the oil used for Baptism, Confirmation, and anointing of the sick.  This year, the solemn mass was attended by some one-hundred fifty priests of the Archdiocese of Caceres and approximately five hundred parishioners.