The Admission to the Candidacy to Holy Orders is a momentous milestone in the life of a seminarian, who has completed his philosophical studies (or Discipleship Stage), and marks the moment when a man aspiring for the priesthood states his intention “to offer himself to God and the Church, so that he may exercise a sacred order. The Church, accepting this offering selects and calls him to prepare himself to receive a sacred order. (Ad Pascendum).” In this ceremony, the local Church, represented by the bishop, formally welcomes the seminarian as a candidate for Holy Orders.
On January 31, 2021, Seminarians Roldan Baliano (Archdiocese of Davao), Renz Marion Cunanan (Archdiocese of San Fernando, Pampanga), and I (Archdiocese of Manila) of the Gaudium Batch 2024, were admitted into our respective archdioceses in a ceremony called the Rite of Admission to the Candidacy to the Diaconate and Presbyterate presided over by Most Rev. Florentino G. Lavarias, D.D., Archbishop of San Fernando, Pampanga.
Before Vatican II, candidates received the Clerical Tonsure and are invested with the surplice as a sign that they were already part of the clergy. Tonsure is the practice wherein some or all of the hair on the scalp is cut or shaved off. This practice was abolished in 1972 as part of the liturgical reforms of Vatican II. Now, it is only upon their ordination to the diaconate when a man becomes a cleric.
Personally, I feel that this milestone was at par with the decision to enter the seminary as both were life-changing events. In the former, I left behind my old life to discern full time whether the Lord was calling me to serve Him and His Church as a priest. After having been in formation for two years and with God’s grace, I have now publicly declared that I am willing to continue my initial priestly formation, and seriously prepare for ordination to the priesthood. Another cause for joy for me was finally being accepted into the Archdiocese of Manila. Having originally been from a different province, I now have the assurance of being welcomed into a new home. I trust and pray that the Lord continue to guide the Gaudium Batch 2024, and mold us into becoming more Christ-like every day so we would be better able to share the joy of His love to our daily encounters, until the time that He brings everything into completion.
Sem. Richard Anthony A. Lim is from the Archdiocese of Manila. Sem. Richard is in his third year of formation (first year theology).