“Spiritual Landmarks in my personal journey” – Fr. Tol in his Silver Anniversary of Presbyteral Ordination
QUEZON CITY – Fray Jose Ernil F. Almayo, OAR celebrates his 25th year of Sacerdotal Anniversary last September 13, 2022 at San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish.
Fr. Tol (as he is fondly called), offered his definitive “Yes” to the Lord twenty five years ago through the Ordination to the Sacred Order of Presbyters. He was ordained to the Priesthood last September 13, 1997 in the hands of Most Rev. Jesse Mercado, DD, Ordaining Prelate, at Our Lady of Consolation Parish, Mira-Nila Homes, Quezon City.
The Eucharistic Celebration was presided by Fr. Tol himself and concelebrated by a good number of Augustinian Recollect Priests from communities in Luzon and attended by OAR Seminarians in Mira Nila and Antipolo, SARF, and sisters from different religious congregations.
In the homily, Fr. Tol shared his spiritual landmarks for the 25 years of his priesthood. He said, “Today as I celebrate my 25th anniversary of my Presbyteral ordination I can feel the intensity of the need to gratefully acknowledge the spiritual landmarks in my personal journey. There are a lot of these spiritual landmarks if I were to enumerate them, and they all comprise, to paraphrase one Catholic theologian, spiritual memories of events, persons, and places, that remind me of God’s presence, power, promises, message, and grace. My post ordination assignments including the brothers who were my companions in the community and those tasks given to me since I was in Baguio, in Rome, in Laray, Cebu, in Talisay, Negros Occidental, and now here in the Provincialate are just some of these landmarks. Little wonder, this grateful acknowledgment is done within the celebration of the Holy Eucharist to remind me that God, the author of my vocation and the source of my perseverance is the spiritual landmark par excellence to remind me in my unworthiness my priesthood and this anniversary have true meaning only in relation to Jesus the beginning and the end of all things. In fact this Eucharist itself is a spiritual landmark to which I was called to celebrate every day and to imitate the mystery I celebrate as part of my identity and mission as an ordained minister.” Fr. Tol said.
Fr. Tol expressed how he was nurtured by the faith of his parents, the influence of the AR Sisters, who introduced to him the Recoletos way of life. He also shared that as he look back to the past, it’s not just the 25 years that he saw but “there are still defining moments and phases in my life that have brought great impact to my person.“
He also added that “Truly, these landmarks inspired me and deepen my conviction and resolve to take up the cross designated for me to carry and to follow the Lord in total and joyful surrender to his plan. But do you think spiritual landmarks are all happy moments that we experience? Not at all. Reality tells us that life is full of colors. That life is not just a bed of roses, it is also a garden of thorns. And priestly life and ministry is never insulated from trials and challenges.”
Before the final blessing, Fr. Tol expressed his gratitude to the Order for the prayerful support and esprit de court, to his parents who at first were hesitant in allowing him to enter the seminary but later God’s wonders move, relatives, classmates benefactors, the AR Sisters, and friends. After the Mass, a sumptuous dinner was prepared at the Provincial Curia.