Sep. 30, 2023 09:54 PM
A formal picture of Rev. Fr. Rufino C. Sescon Jr. celebrating his 25 years of priesthood after the 12:15 noon Thanksgiving Mass (Photo by Social Communications Ministry (SOCCOMM), Quiapo Church)
QUIAPO, Manila – Minor Basilica and National Shrine of the Black Nazarene Rector & Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Rufino C. Sescon Jr., on Tuesday, September 19, 2023, expressed his words: “Nawa sa munti kong kakayanan, maipakita ko din siya sa inyo!” (May I be able to reveal Jesus to all of you through everything that I can do) to the community of 1,600 faithful during the 12:15 noon Thanksgiving mass in celebration of his 25th Sacerdotal Anniversary.
The venerated image of Jesus, the Nazarene, enshrined in the main altar (left) & family picture of Rev. Fr. Sescon Jr. after the 12:15 noon Thanksgiving Mass (right) (Photos by Social Communications Ministry (SOCCOMM), Quiapo Church)
During the concluding part of the mass, Rev. Fr. Sescon Jr. stated the theme for the Nazareno 2024: “Ibig po naming makita si Hesus” (We desire to seek Jesus). As he communicated this to the people, he reflected this as the deepest desire sought not only by him but by each one of us in our daily lives. With that, he thanked foremost his family and loved ones, who had first nurtured and introduced him to Jesus. For him, “Pamilya ko unang mukha ni Hesus sa aking buhay.” (I see the face of Jesus first in my family).
Relatives, friends as well as former lay church servants, who have worked and bonded with Rev. Fr. Sescon Jr. posing for group photos after the after the 12:15 noon Thanksgiving Mass (right) (Photos by Social Communications Ministry (SOCCOMM), Quiapo Church)
Following that, he expressed his gratitude to the communities of Villa San Miguel, Greenbelt Chapel & Mary Mother of Hope Landmark Chapel, where he has served for most of his priesthood ministry and even at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish during his diaconate period. Throughout those years, he described them as “Naging salamin kayo ni Kristo sa aking pagkapari” (You had served as a reflection of Christ in my priestly journey). Now, at his present home, Quiapo Church, he acknowledged the community of staffers, volunteers from the church’s ministries and organizations and the sisters of the Holy Face of Jesus, who are with him in his new mission here.
“Nakikita ko si Hesus sa mga deboto. Ipinakita na ang nagdurusang mukha ng Panginoon sa mga dukkha at nangangailangan magmahal katulad ni Hesus.” (I see Jesus in each devotee. The suffering face of Jesus represents the poor and marginalized, who need love like Jesus’).
Rev. Fr. Sescon Jr. delivering his message of gratitude for the everlasting grace of 25 years of his priesthood (left) & the faithful together with the concelebrating clergies reciting the Lord’s Prayer (right) (Photos by Social Communications Ministry (SOCCOMM), Quiapo Church)
He even honored the following bishops and cardinals, who had played a significant role in his life as a priest from his ordination to the present: Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, His Eminence Gaudencio Rosales, Luis Antonio Tagle, Jose Cardinal Advincula and Jaime Cardinal Sin in his grace-filled mission the past 25 years:
“Tinawag ako upang ipakita si Hesus sa buhay ko. Sana po ay sa abot ng aking nakayanan nitong nakalipas na 25 years naipakita at naiparamdam ko sa salita at gawa si Hesus. Ito ang ating misyon at paglalakbay ang maging banal at kawangis ni Hesus…Lalo kong nakikita si Hesus dito sa Quiapo. Dito ko ipakita si Hesus.” (I was called to manifest Jesus in my life. I hope that to the best of my abilities for the past 25 years, I was able to embody Jesus’ teachings and examples through words and actions. This is my mission in the journey to be holy and be like Jesus…The more I discover about Jesus here in Quiapo, hence, the call to make Him be well-known more).
Towards the conclusion of his speech is his catchphrase, that always captures the hearts of the faithful: “Tunay nga ang lahat ng biyaya sa pananampalataya!” (The wonder of God’s blessings is real for those who are faithful to Him).
The Metaphor of Red & Six to Fr. Jun’s destiny in Quiapo Church
Archbishop Socrates Villegas delivering his homily dedicated to Rev. Fr. Sescon Jr.’s gift of priesthood vocation (left) and Rev. Fr. Sescon Jr. together with Archbishop Villegas and other clergies for a group picture after the 12:15 noon Thanksgiving Mass (right) (Photos by Social Communications Ministry (SOCCOMM), Quiapo Church)
During the homily, Archbishop Socrates Villegas analyzed the meaning of Rev. Fr. Sescon’s name with sharing of his biography in relation to his divinely destiny of being the rector and parish priest of the Minor Basilica and National Shrine of the Black Nazarene:
“Rufino po ay galing sa salitang rufus na old Italian para sa red..Di natin nakita na si Fr. Jun ay nag-aral sa Letran na dugong Arriba. At pagkatapos ay nagraal sa San Carlos dala-dala ang pula ng Kardinal ng Milan na Carlos Borromeo. At pagkatapos ay tumira sa Villa San Miguel at pula ang kulay namin sa Villa San Miguel sapagkat kardinal ang nakatira doon. At pagkatapos ng mahabang panahon sa Villa San Miguel ay naririto sa Quiapo pula pa rin ang damit ng Nazareno…” (The name Rufino is derived from the word ‘rufus’, an old Italian term for red…It was not made known to us that Fr. Jun studied in Letran carrying the blood of Arriba spirit. Afterwards, he studied in San Carlos bringing with him the symbolic color of red of the Cardinal of Milan. This is the same color at Villa San Miguel since it is where the cardinal resides. Here now in Quiapo, it is still the same red because of the vestment color of the Nazarene…”).
The same color red that describes the unconditional love of God, when Jesus had shed blood on the cross for the salvation of mankind. Even the color of the tongue of fire received by the apostles on the day of Pentecost. Archbishop Villegas associated this ‘red’ to Rev. Fr. Sescon Jr., who was chosen by God to become priest on September 29, 1998:
“Sa kaloob-looban sa kaibuturan ng kaniyang puso, sa kaniyang kaluluwa ay binago ng Diyos ang kaniyang pagkatao at ginawa siyang pari at ang kaniyang pagkapari ay magpakailanman.” May pula sa kasaysayan ni Fr. Jun. At Junior siya di ng Daddy kung di ng ating Panginoong Hesus.” (Deep down in his heart and soul, God transformed him to become a priest and his ministry shall last forever. Fr. Jun brings with him the significance of that ‘red’. He is no longer the Jr. of his father, but already that to our Lord Jesus).
For his surname, Sescon, Archbishop Villegas explained that this derives from the shape ‘sexagon’ or ‘hexagon’, a geometric figure with six sides. He metaphorically connected the number six to the sixth day of Creation, when God created man. For him, the sixth day signifies the preluding day of the coming of the Lord’s Day. The same number also pertains to the number of stone water jars before the first miracle happened. In Archbishop Villegas’ comparison to Rev. Fr. Sescon:
The Consecration rites before the communion during the 12:15 noon Thanksgiving Mass (Photos by Social Communications Ministry (SOCCOMM), Quiapo Church)
Ibig sabihin dala-dala ni Fr. Jun sa kaniyang pagkatao na siya ay tagapaghanda lamang sa pagdating ng Lord’s Day. Na siya ay tagapgdala lamang ng tubig at sa salita ng Diyos ang tubig sa anim na tapayan ay magiging alak para sa kasalan. Ito ang tadahana na isinilang siya bilang pula ng Espiritu Santo, dugo ng pagmamahal….” (This connects to Fr. Jun being a precursor to the coming of our Lord’s Day. He is the one who prepares the water and through the word of God, it turns into wine for the wedding. This is the destiny that he will be born with the symbolical red of the Holy Spirit, the blood of everlasting love…”).
Archbishop Villegas concluded his homily with these words:
Rev. Fr. Sescon Jr. greeted by the faithful with smiles during the entrance part (left) & the celebration of the Eucharist during the 12:15 noon Thanksgiving Mass (right) (Photos by Social Communications Ministry (SOCCOMM), Quiapo Church)
“Salamat sa pula ng dugong handog mo sa Panginoon. Salamat sa pula ng pag-ibig mo sa Diyos, sa bayan at sa Simbahan. Salamat sa pula sa pagiging pastol, kapatid ng bayan ng Diyos dito sa Quiapo, dito sa Chinatown. Salamat sa iyong pagtanggap na palitan ng Diyos ang iyong pagkatao upang si Kristo na ang kikilos sayo at hindi na ang anak ng iyong mga magulang. Salamat sa pagiging anim para sa amin. Sapagkat sa pagiging anim moa lam naming darating at darating ang pampito ang araw ng Panginoon. Ang pagbabago ng tubig upang maging alak. Sapagkat marami himala ang naghhintay dahil sa iyong pagkapari.” (Thank you for the gift of your sacrifices to the Lord. Thank you for your love that bleeds red to the Lord, to the people and the Church. Thank you for being our shepherd and brethren of the people of God here in Quiapo Church and Chinatown. Thank you for letting God transform your identity making Him in charge of your life from your parents. Thank you for being the figure ‘six’ to us so we will be prepared for the coming of the Lord. The changing of water into wine. Many miracles await because of your priesthood).
(From left to right) The queue of concelebrating clergies, group picture of Rev. Fr. Sescon Jr. with the bishops and monsignos and other clergies and other friends (Photos by Social Communications Ministry (SOCCOMM), Quiapo Church)
The 25th Sacerdotal Anniversary of Rev. Fr. Rufino C. Sescon Jr. was concelebrated by 114 invited clergies including Bsps. Socrates Villegas, Ruperto Santos, Elmer Mangalinao, Teodoro Bacani, Pol Jaucian, Tony Tobias & Ramon Arguelles and Msgrs. Mar Enriquez, Jomar Reyes, Rolly dela Cruz and Bernardo Pantin. Together with Rev. Fr. Sescon Jr. in his anniversary celebration of priesthood are the following priests, who are his batchmates: is thanksgiving mass was also attended by the family, friends and loved ones of Rev. Fr. Sescon Jr. Following the mass was a grand feast prepared as 250 guests and other present members from Hijos and other ministries came together to celebrate the joyous occasion of the gift of priesthood of Rev. Fr. Sescon Jr.
The Minor Basilica and National Shrine of Jesus the Nazarene church community with the Rev. Fr. Sescon Jr., Rector & Parish Priest (Photo by Social Communications Ministry (SOCCOMM), Quiapo Church)
Tu Es Sacerdos In Aeternum, Secundum Ordinem Melchisedech!! May Jesus, the Nazarene continuously bless and sustain you with his everlasting grace! With love and prayers from your Quiapo Church community always!
– Kidanzac A. Tallada | EIAM & ADRM