This is an excerpt from the full interview on The Life of a Priest, a podcast available in the Tabella Catholic App.
Father Fiel Pareja is a priest serving in the area of Pampanga, in the north of the Philipines. He is also known for his strong presence in social media. Below is the transcript of this segment:
In a world that promotes, even individualism and relativism, consumerism, etc. And brought about by the difficulties of this pandemic, we need a base. We need a [sic] truth. We need someone to hold on that can be the source of our strength. And with the experiences of the people, poverty, sickness, problems brought about by the modern world, we need a common truth, we need a common strength to hold on, and that is God. It is in these most difficult times that we realize that we are limited. In these difficult times we realize that we are sensitive and vulnerable, to things that we can reach the limited-ness of our humanity. And when you face already [sic] the wall, God will help you to push it so that you can go on in life.
As a priest I would encourage people to go back to the sacraments. Actually, I am not forcing them. For they will be threatened or they will feel like it is only an obligation, but, I made them realize how this sacrament is so important in [sic] their situation, at this moment. Let me first explain to them and make them feel that: “yes Father, this is very important in these difficult times.” I will not go there, into their house, shouting: “Oh you sinners, you go back to the church, and celebrate the sacraments!” That is rude. That is not God’s way. God’s way is: going with them, journeying with them, understanding their situation, and together, with them, leading them back into the fold. That’s how effective witnessing can be, (when) you share your life out to them. You tell them what are the best practices that they can follow through [sic]. You share to them how much you experience [sic] God’s love, and now you are allowing yourself to be used by that love, so that they too can experience that love. And then, I can say that is the most effective evangelization tool, and witnessing that we can have. So that people can go back to the sacraments. Not to shout, not to call them sinners, not to call them evil or demons because they are not attending Mass, but to be like Jesus. To dine with them, to dine with the sinners, to be with them in their difficult times. With that experience of God I can fully testify that even if you will not remind them to go to the sacraments, they themselves will go to the sacraments.
Listen to the entire interview with Father Fiel Pareja on the Tabella Catholic App.