Father Joe Dizon: Servant of the Poor

A priest is called to be a father of the Christian community. He is a special servant of God, his duty is to incarnate the love of God in his ministry to transform the people he serves in the family of God.

The world needs people who will preach the gospel, care for humanity, and celebrate the Eucharist. This work will be served by chosen people who will dedicate themselves totally and faithfully to God.

This 2009 - 2010 is the year of Priests. The laity is reminded to work together in accomplishing the goals of the church. Unity in prayer for priests and religious should form part of our lives so we could have more servants of the people who would sacrifice to help us become better persons and live in morally upright and happy communities.

As a priest, Fr. Jose P. Dizon serves God by serving the poor. In the context of Philippine society, priesthood entails being part of social transformation. Preaching the gospel would mean working for justice.

Ordained in 1973 during Martial Law, he says "I'm not afraid to be an activist because even before, I had imagined the worst that could happen. My training is to work for justice in a constitutional dimension. So being part of EDSA II drew me nearer to my goals."

He denies being a revolutionary," in the sense as advocating arms struggle and being in an underground movement, calling himself a militant priest instead. "Yes, I am not a sacristy priest, not a KBL priest," (not a priest only for weddings/kasal, baptisms/binyag and death/libing ceremonies), he asserts.

My call is to work for justice. Poverty is not from God. It is man-made, the work of bad people, so I believe we can dismantle it."

He elaborates on this. "My call is to be a priest for the poor, expecting the rich to share with the poor." I work for people to have justice, prosperity and democracy.

According to Dizon, proper understanding of history is very important because it serves to demonstrate how our present has been ruined by the crimes and sins of the past. People learn and educate themselves in the process of struggling for freedom and prosperity. And in the end, everybody is hopeful for a government that is legitimate and just.

What is Dizon really like? A man separated from all? Or a man who is in harmony with all? Thomas Merton writes, "One must dare to follow his conscience, even in unpopular causes. He must if necessary, be able to disagree with the majority and make decisions that he knows to be according to the teachings of Christ, even when others do not understand why he is acting that way."

Jesus through the priests walks around places in different parts of the world to manifest God's love and redemption to man.

Pope Benedict XVI, in this year of the priests calls everyone to have unity in prayer.

Father Joe Dizon closes, " This is the Church that I love and have loved, the Church I am willing to serve till death."

/rosalinda flores martinez

an old article from the Daily Tribune Newspaper

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