This past Sunday afternoon I had the good fortune of attending a farewell party held by the Filipino Community of the Greensburg Diocese (there is such a group and they are lovely folks) for two of our Filipino brothers who are returning home. To offset our shortage of clergy in the diocese, Bishop Brandt travelled to dioceses in the Philippines to seek out "missionaries" to our diocese. A number of diocese have responded with the loan of their priests for a term of five years. We presently have eleven men who serve in that capacity.
The first two, the pioneer duo, are Fathers Jaime Sullan Ozoa and Joseph D. Armamento, and their five year stint is concluding as they prepare to return home to their families and their diocesan churches. The party was for Fathers Jaime and Joe, and it was wonderful. Friends from the Filipino Community as well as from the parishes were these men served were invited for good ethnic food, fellowship and entertainment (two different dances and a medley of regional Filipino songs), and an opportunity to thank these good priests and to wish them well. It was an enjoyable afternoon.
Both of these men, as well as the others who have joined them on this service of mission away from home, are dedicated priests who bring their faith and talents to ministry. Father Jaime has a disposition and smile that makes you smile, and Father Joe is the calmest and coolest guy around. Joe is ready to return home, but Jaime announced that his return will be delayed for awhile. He picked up his mom in New York on Saturday for a visit to the U.S. and a vacation. This is her first time in this country and her first trip out of the Philippines. They will return home together.
I am grateful for the friendship of these two men and join with our diocesan church in extending gratitude for their priesthood and ministry.