Throughout the homily of Archbishop Jose Advincula, Fr. Romil blushed with embarrassment as the assembly laughed at the jokes and jest poked at him by the Archbishop of Capiz. Advincula who was the homilist for the Thanksgiving Mass on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary to the priesthood of Fr. Romil, is not only the Ordinary of Fr. Romil but he also know him quite well, having been his mentor since his seminary years.
“Please don’t be intimidated by Bishop Ryan’s and my attire. This is the proper attire of bishops when they are not presiding but simply attending the Mass. This is actually a choir dress so we should be seated not at the sanctuary but up there in the choir loft but what can two bishops do when Fr. Romil says so? We cannot do anything but to obey!”
“You are a priest not only of Capiz but of the Universal Church,” Archbishop Advincula reminded Fr. Romil. He then recalled the seminary years of Fr. Romil of whom he was his professor. “He was one of those outstanding students in my class. Then I already saw many qualities of Fr. Romil. He was optimistic, gentle but firm, easy to go along with, sociable, laughable, jolly, patient, and persevering.”
On October 26, 1991 at the Cathedral of Immaculate Concepcion, Roxas City, Capiz Fr Romil was ordained by Archbishop Honesto C. Gorngoncillo. He served in several parishes and in different capacity. It seems that Fr. Romil was already destined not only to the particular church in Capiz but he is meant to be a priest for the world. Almost 10 years after ordination, he was sent to the neighboring diocese of Antique where he served for four years. In 2010, he was sent even farther away as a missionary priest to the Archdiocese of Antigua and Bermuda in the Carribean. In 2012 he was sent as a priest on loan to the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa in Saipan.
Since then, Fr. Romil has served as Parish Administrator of San Antonio. His parishioners filled the Church, as they shared the joy of their ‘Pali’ and his priesthood. “By your presence here, you have shown that love and respect which you hold for him and for his ministry among you,” Advincula reminded the parishioners. “But remember that when we are honoring a priest, we are actually honoring the priesthood of Christ the eternal priest which he confers on us priests when we receive the ordination.”
“My dear Fr. Romil you are a priest for 25 years now! What an awesome gift from the Lord. Today we celebrate the history of your calling, the history of your vocation and the one common factor in these history is your love for Jesus.” Benedict XVI described theology of the priesthood as “Always in search for the Beloved!” It is the love for Christ that makes a priest go forth even in the midst of trials or persecution. It is through this mysterious love for Christ that a priest religiously fulfilled his mission of becoming more or more a man of the Eucharist, bearer of joy and minister of mercy for God’s holy people. “We are priest because first of all we are servants.”
On the same celebration, Bishop Ryan P. Jimenez also installed Fr. Romil as a Pastor of San Antonio to the jubilant applause of the parishioners. Immediately after the Mass, Archbishop Advincula officially blessed the newly renovated façade of the Church.